Current News & Events

  • Events coming up:

    PBFA Book Fairs are in spring – summer mode with 7 events in May ending with the fair in Melrose, Scotland to be held at The Corn Exchange, Market Square, Melrose. TD6 9PN on Saturday 26th May between 10.30-4.30 pm. Admission £1. However before that there are the 2 big fairs coming up late May in London – for details carry on reading. and


    The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers

    The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers is holding an exhibition between the 25th april and 13th May celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder and first President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, Francis Seymour Haden to be held at the society’s home at The Bankside Gallery, Thames Riverside, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH – next to the Tate Modern.


    Rare Books London 2018: A Talk on Printing and Book-Binding (as part of Birbeck College Arts Week 2018)

    16th May 2016 between 6-9pm. Birbeck College, Room 106, 43 Gordon Square. London WC1H 0PD

    A panel discussion on printing and book-binding as part of a series of talks by Rare Books London. Panellists will include fellows from the Designer Bookbinders Society and binding collectors. This event has been sponsored by the Private Libraries Association.

    Book your free place for the talk on printing and book-binding via Eventbrite


    St. Bride’s Wayzgoose

    St. Bride’s Wayzgoose May 20th from 11 to 4 at The St. Brides’s Foundation, Bride Lane Fleet Street, London. Entry is believed to be free. EC4Y 8EQ.


    The London International Premier Book Fair

    The London International Premier Book Fair (LIPBF) is held this year on the 25th and 26th May at ILEC Conference Centre in The IBIS Hotel London Earls Court, 47 Lille Road. London. SW6 1UD. Friday opening from 1-7 and Saturday 10-4 with admission £2 each day. Complimentary tickets are available from


    The ABA Rare Book Fair London

    Held at the same time as the LIPBF mentioned above is The ABA Rare Book Fair London held between 24th-26th May 2018 at Battersea Evolution, Queenstown Road London SW8 4NW. This is in Battersea Park and tickets are available free upon application via the web site: and follow the link to also find put about opening times, access, directions, who is exhibiting and the special events planned.


    The Shipley Wayzgoose

    The Shipley Wayzgoose June 9th from 11 to 5 at The Kirkgate Centre, 39A Kirkgate, Shipley BD18 3EH. Free entry.


    Letterpress Printing Conference University of Leeds July 19th-20th 2018

    This is the final of 4 conferences that began last September under the generic heading of Letterpress Printing: Past, Present, and Future and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is a research network that brings together scholars, printers, museum professionals and amateurs to explore the significance of letterpress printing today.

    Featuring a key note lecture by Professor Johanna Drucker from the UCLA, this two-day conference explores the survival, legacy and relevance of letterpress printing in the digital era.

    Details see and follow the link.


    Society of Bookbinders Education & Training Seminar

    The 9th SoB Education & Training Seminar will be held from Thursday 30th August to Saturday 1st September at the University of Chester with SoB members only on Thursday. There will be talks augmented by demonstrations including Philippa Räder, Head of the Royal Bindery, Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle giving a demonstration on Friday 31st August on how to create a Victorian Letter Folder as found in the Royal Archives.
    Details to be found on

    British Letterpress

    British Letterpress has regular events on the hands-on approach to letterpress printing from courses through to exhibitions and purchasing equipment. Details can be found on then follow the relevant section link.



    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 

    For those who are familiar with our well regarded journal, The Private Library, the ‘current’ issue and the season and date on the cover do not seem to be in agreement — journal dates are about a year behind. This is due to falling behind some years ago, yet the editorial board is hard at work catching up! 

    The two latest issues of The Private Library that were sent to members in November 2017 are Autumn 2016, a 60 page issue with colour illustrations on the special editions of the Folio Society, and Winter 2016, which is a normal 48 page issue on the library of Philip Ward, our founder, and illustrator Joan Hassall in Scotland. The Spring and Summer 2016 issue is a double issue and has not yet been sent out as it is still in proof, but it will consist of 128 pages on 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.