The Library, housed in the Club's premises, has an unrivalled collection of over 30,000 books, magazines, club journals, expedition reports and rare historic material. Some modern guidebooks, photographs (see AC Photo Library) historic diaries, press cuttings and correspondence (see AC Archives)
Many books can be borrowed by AC members, the exceptions being guidebooks and valuable items. Books can be borrowed in person or by post within the UK. Photocopies can be requested in person, by post or e-mail.
The Club holds a wonderful collection of over 35,000 historic and modern photographs in the form of prints, negatives, glass plates, lantern slides, transparencies and albums. The Photo Library has been set up to conserve and manage this collection
You can search the library online using Site Search with the "AC Library" checkbox ticked. The search looks for matches of words in the library catalogue fields Author, Leader, Subject and Title.
Contact the Library
The Library is normally open from 10.00am to 5.30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, except during the month of August and for the Christmas / New Year period.
The Library will have reduced opening hours over the Easter period.
We will be open 11.00am to 5.30pm on Tuesday 23rd April and Thursday 25th April, but closed on Wednesday 24th April.
For Alpine Club members, the Library remains open until 7.00pm on lecture evenings. If travel from afar is involved, please check the opening times in advance.
Using The Library
Members of the AC, ABMSAC, and Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society may use the Library free of charge.
Other users are invited to make a financial contribution to running costs.
AC members may use the Royal Geographical Society Library free on production of their AC membership card.
You can also search the online database here. To narrow your search to just the Library tick the "AC Library" checkbox.
The Alpine Club has world maps to help members plan their expeditions. Typically we have numerous maps in electronic format that can be emailed on request. Please provide either the map reference number or the specific location of interest. The following regions are available:
Himalaya, Karakorum; Hindu Kush; China – Tibet; China – Central; China – Xinjiang; Pamirs; Fann Mountains; Tien Shan; Altai; Sayan; Kamchatka; Iran; Caucasus; Turkey; Morocco; Ethiopia and South America.
The Library was founded in 1858, in the first year of the Club. In 1972 it was established as a separate charitable trust, managed by trustees appointed by the British Mountaineering Council and the Royal Geographical Society as well as the Alpine Club. The Library relies greatly on financial donations and legacies, as well as gifts of books, photos or artifacts. Diaries, correspondence, and press cuttings are welcomed as gifts or deposits to the Archives. The Honorary Treasurer of the Library will readily advise on procedure for making bequests and tax-effective covenanted donations.