The Library complements the Museum in supporting its aim to inform and educate not only masons but also the general public by giving them access to masonic material for further study.
It contains in excess of 3000 volumes comprising general masonic reading, books on individual masonic orders, reference and research books of many Masonic Study Groups, histories of Lodges, Chapters and Provinces. For those who wish to investigate their Kentish masonic family history there are Provincial Year books dating from 1879.
Books for all levels of interest, from the casual reader to the serious student, can be found here. There is also a shelf containing books particularly selected to help the newer mason through his early years.
The latest editions of popular masonic magazines are also on display.
An adjacent reading room with free access to wi-fi has been provided to facilitate further study. At present the lending facility has been suspended while the cataloguing of the books and their insertion onto the new database is completed, but books may be still borrowed to read within the reading room.
A Special Collection of books and manuscripts has been created which are available only upon request.
For those who want to investigate their non-masonic family history the Library houses one of the largest collections of genealogy books and documents for family history in the south-east of England.
Shown is an illustration of one of the books in the Special Collection
Facsimile of the Additional MS 23,198 in the British Museum, commonly known as the Matthew Cooke MS. Described as “The history and articles of the ‘Sciens of Gemetry’ or Freemasonry…. Vellum in the original oak boards. Belonged to John Fenn 1786”.
It is believed to be the second earliest Masonic document and written in Medieval English.