LONDON LIBRARY (THE), 12, ST. JAMES'S SQUARE, a public subscription Circulating Library, was established in May, 1841 ; and in December, 1844, when the members removed their books from Pall Mall to 12, St. James's-square, the Library consisted of more than 25,000 volumes. Number of members, May, 1847, 885; number of volumes, Aug. 1849, upwards of 50,000 ; price of catalogue, 5s. Entrance fee, 61. ; annual subscription, 21. ; a payment of 26l. constitutes a subscriber for life. A member is allowed to take a certain number of volumes away with him at a time, and to change them as often as he wishes. The Library is open every day except Sunday, from 11 to 6 o'clock. Carte, the historian, suggested in 1743 the formation of a London Library, at the expense of the Twelve Great Companies of the City of London, each Company subscribing 2000l., but nothing was done, though the idea was good.
Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850
see also Dickens Dictionary, 1908 - click here