The Library is principally a modern working legal reference library for use by any member of Lincoln’s Inn and by the Bar as a whole. It is staffed by experienced and qualified law librarians, who are always willing to help members and barristers whether in person or by phone or email. As well as providing a full range of legal databases, it prides itself on the depth of its traditional printed collections. The Library also works in close collaboration with the libraries of the other Inns of Court, so that our collections and services complement each other.
Through its collections of rare books and manuscripts it also serves the wider scholarly community, and in matters relating to the Inn’s history and past members it is happy to answer enquiries from the general public – but it should be borne in mind that the Library is entirely privately owned and funded.
The Archives are departmentally part of the Library, but form a separate collection of the Inn’s own historical records distinct from the Library’s manuscript collections, and are in the care of a professional archivist. Enquiries from the public on for example past members are typically answered by the staff using both printed sources in the Library and unpublished sources from the Archives.
Occupying the north wing of the Great Hall complex, designed by Philip Hardwick and opened in 1845, the Library is a classical collegiate style building of considerable distinction and is the only one of the four Inn library buildings not to have been destroyed in the Second World War. As a collection of books it is the oldest library still to exist in London.
All users, whether members or not, can expect friendly service from the staff and an atmosphere conducive to research and study.
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