The Memorial Library

The Memorial Library


The Memorial Library holds over 22,000 non-fiction titles covering all disciplines, 7,500 fiction titles and a huge selection of modern DVDs and music. Periodicals and newspapers for a range of subjects are available in the Library’s Study Hub, along with back issues of up to two years for most of our paper periodicals. Additionally the Library subscribes to over 40 online resources, including periodicals, academic journals and databases. We are also responsible for the cataloguing and maintenance of the College’s departmental libraries, which hold a further 12,000 books.

The Library offers a variety of spaces for different activities, from the Reading Room, where students are able to curl up on a sofa or a beanbag with a good book, to the Study Hub which functions as both a teaching space and collaborative study area, to the Memorial Library itself, a space for quiet, independent study.

Academic Literacy support is an integral part of the Library service at Marlborough College. Resources covering topics such as plagiarism, research techniques, referencing and more are all available through the Library’s Firefly pages. All new members of the College are given a Library induction to introduce them to the space, staff and resources available. We offer tailored 1-2-1 research sessions for pupils, which support large projects such as the EPQ, as well as coursework or even a single prep.

The Library runs clubs, challenges and events aimed at engaging pupils with reading and the wider world of literature, from our internationally themed World Book Day Buffet, to Harry Potter Book Night and the Everest Reading Challenge.

Follow us on Twitter and get a glimpse of the Memorial Library’s goings-on.


The Library seeks to support the educational, pastoral and co-curricular aims of Marlborough College by making the Library a physical and spiritual centre of teaching, learning and reading for pleasure. The service we provide aims to enable students to develop as confident library users and independent scholars, and prepares them for further study and higher education.
The Library enriches the curricular experiences of all pupils by providing a broad range of resources, both in terms of format and content, as well as the knowledge required to access, analyse and make use of these materials.

The Library is a popular and well used resource with a welcoming atmosphere aimed at building a student’s engagement with literature and encouraging independent study. Library staff have worked hard to create an environment that is friendly and positive for all pupils, and regularly seek out feedback to ensure that we provide the best possible service to all members of the College community.

The Library aims to instil and encourage a love of reading, a love of the written word and an awareness of what is happening in the world of research and literature. Educating pupils in the use of information, providing support for research and developing a pupil’s ability to make challenging and thoughtful reading choices is at the core of everything that the Library does.


Head Librarian: James Burton – BA Hons, MSC
Assistant Librarian: Victoria Williams – BA Hons, PGDip
Library Assistant: Daniel Hartshorn – BA, MA


From 1848 the College’s main library was located in The Adderley in “C” House. This was a very attractive and much loved facility, but lack of space limited its use to members of the Fifth and Sixth Forms only. Many teaching departments developed their own specialised collections of books elsewhere.

In 1892 it was agreed to build a large Reading Room within the complex of North Block. The Reading Room was eventually opened in 1900, during the South African War, and was called The Memorial Reading Room in tribute to the memory of Marlburians who had fallen in the South African War.

The function of the Reading Room was originally to provide a heated and peaceful haven where more junior boys could have access to books and newspapers under conditions which would encourage private study. In the early 1950s it was decided to close The Adderley Library and transfer all its books – together with those of several other smaller collections – to the Memorial Reading Room, which then was re-branded, as now, as The Memorial Library.

Rare Books

Marlborough College holds an important and significant collection of rare books and manuscripts ranging in date from the fifteenth century to modern times.
Please follow this link to view and find out more about many of the books in this unique collection.

Among its many treasures are the Marlborough College Book of Hours, a medieval illuminated manuscript, exemplars of fine early printing by Aldus, Froben and Plantin, rich holdings of literary, theological and historical works from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and many important mathematical and scientific works from the Renaissance to the Victorian era. Among the latter stand Newton’s Principia Mathematica, early alchemy books, hand-painted Victorian zoological guides, and first editions of Darwin’s works.

Other particular strengths of the collection include antiquarian volumes on Wiltshire, a wealth of Arts & Crafts books inspired by the former OM William Morris, and fine press books of the twentieth century, including many items from the Marlborough College Press. The Rare Book collection is a key part of the College’s cultural heritage, but its books and manuscripts remain available to staff and students for use and consultation.

For further information, please contact Dr Simon McKeown, Keeper of Rare Books.



Everest Challenge – Recommended books for Lower School pupils


Everest Challenge – Recommended books for Upper School pupils


Everest Challenge – Recommended books for Modern Languages pupils


Everest Challenge – Recommended books for Science, Psychology and Mathematics pupils


Donations Policy