Opening Hours


Tuesday              10am to 6pm

Wednesday         10am to 6pm

Thursday             10am to 7pm

Friday                  10am to 7pm

Saturday              12 noon to 4pm

Sunday                12 noon to 4pm


Tuesday               10 to 5 pm

Friday                   10 to 5pm

Saturday:              12 to 4pm

Children can borrow books and DVDs during Main Library Hours.

RHYME TIME  - watch the website for updates. 

Bank Holidays : LIBRARY CLOSED

Frequently Asked Questions

How is  the library funded?

In short, by YOU: The individuals in the Community and by local charities. Camden do not support any of our running costs and unlike most other community libriaries, we have to pay a substantial fee for the use of the building to the City of London Corporation who are the Trustee of Keats House Charity.

We need to raise at least £50,000 EVERY year to use the building (£25,000) and provide the services such as  the technology, paid agency staff and of course books.  Our funding comes from donations and from income at events we hold through the year.

Most of our regular services are free to all with contributions requested for events such Rhyme Time and Chess Classes where we pay the moderator.

Every pound you give will go towards the library's running costs.

Please consider regular support with a standing order. We have over 5000 card holders so if only 10% of you gave us £10 a month we would have enough!  As far fewer than this do donate , we need more from those that do!

It is difficult to move our visitors and readers from the concept of a right to a  "free library" to one they need to support but without that support, we close.

I love the library - How can I help?

We welcome all help - we need (practical!) ideas, volunteers and money to continue delivering the service free to the community. The Library is not static nor confined to a small group of people.

To offer help please just get in touch by email to or next time you visit the library. Ask to contact a Trustee.

What are the plans for events and literary evenings?

These  have increased in number and scope. We now have an average of one event every month over the year with a concentration in Auutumn.  They are very popular, often sold out in advance.  See our News & Events section for the next evenings in our programme.

The staple for librariies was tradionally authors presenting their books with a reading. We have moved on from this partly as several other local venues such as Daunts, Burgh House and the Festivals are doing much the same, often with the same authors and we did not want to compete for the same market. 

We have added music, plays with professional actors and celebrity evenings, all of which have been very well received. The generosity of the wonderful performers, who are unpaid, has been wonderful and we thank them so much for this.

We also offer a  variety of events for children ranging from Chess classes , to Creative Writing sessions to Art Classes to Puppet Shows. These are usually on Saturday afternoons.

We hope that you like our programme - details are on the website and mailed to those on our lists.  It is for you so please suggest anything that you have seen and liked for us to try out.

Can I organise an event in the Nightingale Room?

We are often asked to host events such as a book launch. We are delighted to consider this but need to warn on the economics.

Simply, because we have to hire the space at market rates, we need to be sure that we will receive at least £250 in income in order to pay the room hire and cover other costs such as wine and a present to the speaker.

Can I hire theNightingale Room for a private event, such as children's party?

The Nightingale Room is used for the children’s library on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday afternoons so it is not available to rent at those times.   

Other times may be available but have to be booked with our landlord, the City of London Corporation through Keats House. The room costs vary depending on the time of day, but think about  £70 -200 per hour from 9am-5pm. Please see for more information.

NOTES: 1) The library receives no income or other benefit from any such rental.

            2) There is no kitchen so food and drink must be brought in and there are rules on this

            3) Toilets are located outside the building in the garden. 

For more information please contact the team at Keats House on 0207 332 3868 or email,

What is your relationship with  the City of London Corporation?

The City is the Sole Trustee of The Keats House Charity which owns the building as well as Keats House next door.  We have a Licence from them to run our library in their building for specific hours.  On the days and evenings when the library is not open, the City may use the building for other activities such as events related to Keats House.  We have to pay the City a licence fee. We do not receive financial support from them.

We share  the use of the Nightingale Room for the Children's dedicated space with the City. "Our KCL days" are Tuesday, Friday and Saturday under our licence. On other days the books are in the main library and, by concession from the City, we can use the Nightingale room if it is not otherwise needed.

We are running events in common with them given the overlap in charitable and community objectives.

Why do I need a KCL  library card?

The Library is independant of Camden with different library management system. To borrow books (free), audiobooks (free) or DVDs (free in 2020,  normally a weekly charge applies) you'll need a KCL library card and we need to register your details.  You also need a Library Card to benefit from free use of the Public Computers.

Library Cards are issued while you wait in the Library. You need to come in person with a proof of address.  There will be a one-off admin charge of £5/household to go towards the costs of issuing your card.

You do not need a KCL library card to use other services such as WiFi, study tables, read publications or browse generally. Printing and coping services as well as hot drinks are available to all  - fees apply.

What about library's collection of books?

We constantly renew the collection of books. Since opening in 2012, we have added or replaced most of the stock of about 20,000!  This is thanks to so many in the Community who have donated and also to our suppiers who help with discounts and clever buying.

We pride ourselves on having the latest publications - for example, the Booker Long list is on the shelves within a few days of being announced. The stock is also looking generally cleaner and newer with we hope a more relevant choice than used to be the case "under previous managment"!   We are finding many visitors from further out in Camden have discovered this and now come to KCL. 

Thanks to donations and the interests of our community, the non-fiction book collection has particular depth in areas such travel,  photography, cooking, history, biography and philosophy,

The layour of books has also been changed in a radical (for librarians anyway!) departure from Dewy Decimal. Instead, the non-fiction collection is labelled and arranged by interest sections, modelled on a book shop. The idea to to make books easier to find for the reader.  We do not pretend to be a research library as other much larger excellent libraries such as the British Library are avaliable close.

We are keen to hear from you about ideas for books you'd also like us to stock and buy.  Just write in the comments book provided by the desk and please include your contact details so we can reply!

We also manage the stock by market demand, removing books which our community no longer reads.

Relationship with Camden Librairies:

What do I do with  books that are on my Camden Library card?  As we are no longer on the Camden Library system, we cannot accept Camden owned books. When these books are due for return you will need to go to a Camden Library.  The nearest Camden libraries are Swiss Cottage and Queen's Crescent.

Equally, you can only return KCL books to us in Keats Grove. Returning them to Camden libraries may result in them being lost (although the Camden librarians kindly try to send them back) in which case there may be a charge to replace the book in addtion to any fines.

Can I order a Camden library book from Keats Community Library?

Again as we are not part of the Camden system we could not offer this service. We can meet all requests either by buying the book for KCL (sometimes even on the same day!)  or directing the reader elswhere when it was a more specialised book. We remain open to new ideas on this.  First ask us to buy it!