A library book, I imagine, is a happy book.

Cornelia Funke

About Us

About Us

The Linen Hall Library is a truly unique institution. Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland.

It has a radical and 'enlightenment' foundation, and ever since has prized its independence and has maintained the principle that its resources are owned by the community for the community.

It is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection, ranging from comprehensive holdings of Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 250,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the recent troubles.

The Library also boasts the Northern Ireland Theatre and Performing Arts Archive, a unique collection reflecting our rich cultural heritage. The Linen Hall has an illustrious profile as a centre of cultural and creative life and offers a varied programme of events ranging from monthly exhibitions to readings and lectures. 

We provide:

  • A full range of facilities at a city centre location
  • Unique Irish and Local Studies Collections
  • Extensive general lending collection, from bestsellers to classics
  • Free public reference use
  • Borrowing rights for members
  • Fast request service from helpful and expert staff
  • Access to daily newspapers, international magazines and journals
  • Extensive range of fine prints, publications and gifts for sale
  • Wide-ranging cultural programmes
  • Internet access
  • Coffee Shop
  • Saturday opening

The Linen Hall Library is an independent and charitable body registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC104564