Current News & Events

  • Events coming up:

    Summer is leaving us and Autumn is on the horizon but there are always the PBFA Book Fairs to look forward to and in September there are  only 3 events in September starting off at Alexandria Palace organised by The International Antiques & Collectors Fairs (iacf) on Sunday 2nd September 9.30-4.30 pm with a £6 admission fee (free to under 16’s). Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY.


    Thereafter there is the months big attraction which is the YORK NATIONAL PREMIER FAIR to be held at The Knavesmire Suite, York Racecourse, YO23 1EX on the 14th – 15th September 2018. Friday: Noon – 7:00pm, Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm. Admission is £2 but complimentary tickets are available. There is a shuttle bus leaving every 20 minutes from York railway station to and from the venue.


    Help the PLA at York

    The PLA are standing at The York National Premier Fair and if possible come along and help Jim.

    The last event of the month is the Stamford Fair to be held at The Arts Centre, St. Marys Street, PE9 2DL on the 29th September  from 10-4pm with a £1 admission fee.


    Please note that the Isle of Skye Antiquarian Book Festival that was to be held on the 6-8th September has been cancelled.

    Details are to be found on and


    Enid Marx: Print, Pattern and Popular Art- House of Illustration

    Enid Marx (1902-1998) was a textile designer, printmaker and illustrator who, alongside her contemporaries Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden, defined mid-century design and 20 years after her death this is the most comprehensive retrospective of her works, including papers for Curwen and designs for King Penguin.

    Where: 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London. N1C 4BH – U


    Edward Bawden at The Dulwich Picture Gallery ENDS SOON on the 9th September.

    “This exhibition will bring together 160 works to re-introduce Bawden as a hugely versatile artist, who effortlessly pushed the boundaries between fine and commercial art. It will be the first to show the full breadth of Bawden’s artistic output, covering each of the many disciplines he mastered over his 60-year career, as well as exploring his lesser-known achievements as a fine artist” – The Dulwich Picture Gallery commentary.

    Admission fee variable from £8 to £16.50. Open from 10-5 Tuesday to Sunday.
    There are many web sites dedicated to specific aspects of the book trade and specialists will know of them. Listed below are a few that give an overview of fairs, news, bookshops and services to the trade: – gives details of literary events mostly in the UK and Ireland but some coverage of overseas events – overview of fairs, news, bookshops – modern authors and trade news – sourcing rare and out of print books but with insights into the market, pricing and regulations. – The Centre for Printing History and Culture run by the two Universities of Birmingham.


    Ireland – The National Print Museum, Haddington Road, Beggars Bush, Dublin D04 E0C9.

    The home of printing presses and history of print in Ireland is conveniently situated near the centre of Dublin and the port.

    From the 17th May until the 30th September 2018 the museum will be exhibiting “Print, Protest, and The Polls: The Irish women’s suffrage campaign and the power of print media, 1908 – 1918”. The exhibition will show the relationship between the contemporary political protest and the developing print media of both side of the campaign for women’s’ rights at the ballot box.


    USA – Oak Knoll Fest XX: October 5th – October 7th, 2018

    Oak Knoll Press who are well known among the British letterpress community have their annual book and printing festival and this year the theme is “Bringing it on Home ” in which Printers, booksellers, and collectors will discuss that theme in a free  symposium on Saturday 6th , focusing on the importance of fine press book fairs that help expand the knowledge of the books arts.

    For details see


    Early Private Presses 1730-1900, by David Chambers

    This is the first comprehensive study of the private presses in the British Isles that were active in the 18th and 19th centuries. It will be printed in early 2018. In two volumes: Vol. 1 The Presses, c 300 pp, 75 illus. Vol 2: Bibliography, c. 300 pp. Cloth boards, imperial octavo. Both volumes will be issued as the free member book for the two years 2017 & 2018 combined. (To be included in the distribution of free copies of this standard edition, the PLA membership subscription must be paid for both years.) It is priced at £80 for both volumes, trade discount 25%. Special editions also available, 30 copies, both volumes bound in full morocco, in slip cases, with selected original leaves taken from 14 volumes of the presses concerned, price about £750. A further 70 copies will be issued with both volumes bound in quarter morocco, in slip cases, with original leaves from the same volumes, price about £375. 25% discount to PLA members or the trade. Postage extra. Join today and receive for free or reserve your copy using our order form. If you would like the prospectus pdf emailed to you, please send us a request using the contact form. The book description is on the publications books page.

    The Private Library: Quarterly Journal update 

    The Spring and Summer 2016 issue is a double issue and is now with you and consists of 128 pages on the Caradoc Press.  It is the an expansive and definitive history of Harry and Hesba Webb, the husband and wife team and the Caradoc Press. As always, our quarterly journal is free to members yet can be purchased as a series or in individual copies. Please use the on-line order form to purchase your copy.

  • Join today! 

    Become a member today and join an ever growing community of book enthusiasts…at last count over 450 individual members and over 80 institutional members! The year 2016 marked our 60th anniversary and the momentum of enthusiasm for all things PLA continues to grow. 2017 was the beginning of what we are confident will be another 6 successful decades for the PLA and 2018 will offer exciting new publications as well as fairs and events for our members.

    We want to encourage all bibliophiles – anyone who loves books – to join at an annual subscription of only £30. You will receive our well-respected quarterly journal, packed with interesting articles on all manner of subjects relating to books. Members also receive discounts on all our publications and a complimentary members book every 2 years. Students and anyone under the age of 26 will receive membership at only £15…so all young book collectors should sign up today!


Welcome to The Private Libraries Association

Founded in 1956, the Private Libraries Association is an international society of book collectors – collectors of rare books, fine books, single authors, special subjects, and, above all collectors of books for the simple pleasures of reading and ownership.

Private Libraries AssociationThe Association publishes a well regarded quarterly journal, The Private Library. It prints essays on members’ libraries, specialised collections, the work of the private presses, illustrators and, indeed, any aspect of the mania likely to appeal to collectors.  Reviews of new books are a regular feature.

A series of illustrated books on specialised aspects of book collecting has been issued over the past fifty years, those still in print described in our current Books Catalogue.  Also available is the annual bibliography Private Press Books, the definitive checklist for worldwide private press output from 1960 to 2008, which has been published by the Private Libraries Association since 1959.

Become a member today!  Members receive the journal, free books, discounts and access to the exclusive members’ Newsletter and  Exchange List, which is issued quarterly. A new feature, established in 2017, is a member page on-line exhibition. Members who wish to submit images and a short description of books from their collection are warmly invited do so. Any member interested in submitting photos of their collection should contact our Hon Secretary, Jim Maslen, via the contact form.  In addition, as correspondence within the Association is encouraged, a Members’ Handbook is issued about every three years, listing member contacts and collecting interests. A new handbook will be issued in 2018.