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Date updated: 27/02/2024

Activities in our libraries

Alcoholics Anonymous

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 12.30-1.30pm

Alcoholism support group held three times a week. For more information on joining, contact AA directly or visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website.

Email Alcoholics Anonymous
0800 9177650

London Life Drawing

Saturdays Times available on London Drawing website

Venue: Artizan Library

Drop in life drawing sessions from London Drawing. A general life drawing class with tuition for beginners and advice for those who are more experienced, all designed to encourage you to develop your own style and approach. Attendees must register with London Drawing in advance. Please contact London Drawing for further information. 

Email London Drawing

Metropolitan Chess Club

Thursdays 6-10pm

The Metropolitan Chess Club is one of the oldest in London, founded in 1890. There are currently over 50 members and new members of all abilities are welcome. Anyone interested in joining must register with Metropolitan Chess Club in advance.

Email Metropolitan Chess Club 

Read & Relax: Tea, Books & Chat

Every other Wednesday 10-11am

Our twice-monthly 'Tea, Books & Chat' sessions bring people together to read, share stories, meet new friends and have fun. Join us for a good natter about books, the news and everything under the sun.

Email Artizan Street for details.

Please contact the relevant organisations for further information or if you would like to attend.

Craft and Conversation: Knitting

Mondays 11-2pm. Update: No meetings in August - summer break.

We are a group of people of all ages and abilities who meet in the Barbican Library every Monday 11am–2pm. Free knitting tuition given and beginners' materials provided. Or just bring your knitting and have a natter! All welcome. Please email Barbican Library or call the library on 020 7638 0569 for more information.

Sewing Club 

Wednesdays - new Autumn 2023 schedule: 20, 27 September, 4, 18 October, and 1, 8 November at 12.15-1.45pm

Drop in to our weekly sewing meet up! We have sewing machines, material and all tools you need to get started. You can learn how to sew or get assistance with a project you’re already working on. Repair loved items or upcycle old ones. Jenny Colwell will lend her many years of experience as a seamstress to help you develop a new skill or hobby. No booking required.

Games Club 

Thursdays 3-5.30pm

Meet new friends, learn new strategies and have fun in our weekly games club.

Bring your own game to play or choose from one provided such as Chess and Scrabble.

Free – Just turn up.

IT help drop-in

Tuesdays 5.30-7pm

If you’d like help using the internet, phones, tablets or laptops, or have a specific IT issue, you can drop in to our IT help group every Tuesday 5.30-7pm in Barbican Library. Get free help with issues such as: email, Zoom, managing photos and music, downloading/deleting apps, booking tickets, and online safety.

We may also be able to offer help to those unable to drop in on Tuesday evening. Contact Barbican Library on 0207 638 0569 or speak to staff at the desk.

Free mindfulness group

Thursdays 1-1.30pm

Mindfulness and meditation practices helps us to focus on the present moment, this in turn helps us to better manage stress and anxiety, build concentration, gain self-confidence and more. The breathing exercises help us to strengthen our lungs and activate our immune system.

Juliana Lottmann leads this weekly group at 1-1.30pm every Thursday. Open to beginners, experienced meditators and all ages.

Booking is required on Eventbrite.

Reading Groups

Barbican Library runs popular reading groups which meet once a month to discuss a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction.

Please email Barbican Library or call the library on 020 7638 0569 for more information.

Reading Groups

Lunchtime Reading Group: Second Thursday of the month at 1pm - 2pm

Evening Reading Group: Last Tuesday of the month at 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Contact Shoe Lane Library for more information.

Craft Group: Knit and Chat

Third Thursday of the month at 12.30pm - 1.30pm

Come along to practice, learn and work on your personal textiles projects, all while making friends and getting advice on everything from sewing to knitting, and crocheting to embroidery. All are welcome, from beginners to experts.

Contact Shoe Lane Library for more information.

Dragon Café in the City

Fortnightly on Wednesdays at 12pm - 7.30pm. 

Shoe Lane Library welcomes you to explore the world of mental health and wellbeing through Dragon Café in the City, our fortnightly pop-up. Through creative workshops and events, we offer engaging ways to practise mindfulness and stress relief here in the heart of the City. Every event is free of charge and open to all.

To find out more, including our programmes for each upcoming event, visit Dragon Café in the City or contact Shoe Lane Library.

See our listings for regular and recurring events and activities in City of London lending libraries including discussion groups, book clubs and much more.

The libraries also have plenty of other one-off events, talks, workshops and more, both in the Library and on Zoom.

Events Newsletter

We are pleased to announce that we have started an email newsletter service! Subscribe now, if you would like monthly information emailed to you about all our forthcoming one-off events and activities.


If you would like to sponsor our programmes for adults and children, please consider making a donation to our libraries. 100% of all monies received from donations comes to the Barbican and Community Libraries service.

Social media and Eventbrite

Many of our activities are also accessible via our social media platforms and you can also find many of our events listed on Eventbrite - follow the links below:

Barbican Library Eventbrite
Shoe Lane Eventbrite
Artizan Street Library Eventbrite

Barbican Library Art exhibitions

Individuals and groups of artists can apply to hold an exhibition of their work in the Barbican Library Foyer space. The space is extremely popular, so a selection process is necessary to choose the successful candidates for each calendar year. We particularly aim to promote artists who are seeking their first exhibition in the City, and those who do not have access to permanent or regular gallery spaces.

Applications to exhibit in 2025 are now open. Please fill in one of the application forms and send by email to Barbican Library, or by post to:

Barbican Library
Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS

Barbican Library Art Exhibition Application (Individuals) PDF (100KB)
Application form for individuals to apply for Barbican Library Art exhibitions in 2025
Date submitted: 10/10/23
Barbican Library Art Exhibition Application (Groups) PDF (100KB)
Application form for groups to apply for Barbican Library art exhibitions in 2025.
Date submitted: 10/10/23
Barbican and Community Libraries Zoom Privacy Notice PDF (100KB)
Date submitted: 7/01/21