The Private Libraries Association


The Private Libraries Association
We are an international association of book collectors, founded in 1956, of people who love and collect books. We aim to share that enthusiasm by publishing articles in The Private Library and books on all aspects of the book – anything, in fact, that might reflect the interests of our members. Recent publications have included a study of the Fanfrolico Press and a series of photographs of English Country Bookshops. We have several books in advanced stages of preparation: on the illustrations of the Pre-Raphaelite Arthur Hughes; on nineteenth-century dust-jackets; on the Private Press in Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries; and on the publisher John Sharpe.

The Private Library, established in 1966, runs to 48pp and usually includes two well illustrated, substantial essays, though is on occasion devoted to single subjects, as for instance the work of Reynolds Stone. Articles cover books that can be collected today, members’ libraries, specialised collections, the work of private presses, illustrators, and reviews of new books.  Recent issues have covered, amongst other subjects, Collé Chine, Charles Clark’s Bookplates and Broadsides, Flinders’ Narrative, Vellum, Printing on Iona, Willi Harwerth, Thomas Balston, Christmas cards, Ted Hughes, Pochoir, Gaylord Schanilec, the Early Private Press in France, Children’s books, and Bindings by Tomorrow’s Past.

The Newsletter includes an Exchange List, with details of books that members are willing to give to others and books they wish to sell or obtain. We also publish a Members’ Handbook, listing addresses and collecting interests.

Over the years we have published a number of substantial books which are issued free to members. The Fanfrolico Press, by John Arnold, was published in 2009; English Country Bookshops, by David Chambers, and Illustrated Periodicals of the 1860s, by Simon Cooke, in 2010. In preparation are The Book and Periodical Illustrations of Arthur Hughes by Maroussia Oakley, Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets by Mark Godburn,  The Private Press in Britain 1701-1900, by David Chambers, John Sharpe, Reprint Publisher and Bookseller 1777-1860, by Iain Bain, James Guthrie and The Pear Tree Press, by Frances Guthrie. In celebration of our sixtieth anniversary in 2016, a collection of colour photographs of Members’ collections will be published in 2017. Our website, plabooks.org, gives more details of these and other books that are still in print, as well as listing the essays that have appeared in The Private Library over the past half century – back numbers of many issues are still available.

The benefits of subscribing – a modest £30 a year – include four issues of our journal, free members’ books as issued, a quarterly Newsletter and Exchange List, visits to places of interest, and contact with like-minded people (through the Members’ Handbook and a Facebook page). 

Further details from our Hon Secretary, Jim Maslen, 29 Eden Drive, Hull HU8 8JQ (email:  maslen@maslen.karoo.co.uk).