The Library

The Smythe Library exists to meet the information needs of the whole school community, and to support all teaching and learning. It also provides a suitable environment for the acquisition of knowledge, quiet reflection or serendipity.

The library recently re-opened following a £6.1M refurbishment and extension to reflect the growing school, changes in the curriculum, the use of modern technology and the need for flexible teaching spaces.

A new mezzanine level was added to the building, spaces built for the Careers and University and Learning Strategies departments, the Chan Café was added as a community gathering area and new, well-equipped teaching areas constructed.  The extended building was officially opened by HRH Princess Alexandra in 2016.

The original library building was designed by Sir William Holford and built in 1962.  The library contains tens of thousands of volumes – some of which have been in the school’s possession since the seventeenth century.

The oldest book in the collection is a Jenson Bible dated 1479. The Archives of Tonbridge School are also held in the library, ensuring effective access to all documents which are relevant to the history of the school.

The library catalogue is computerised and available on the network for boys and staff to access at all times from any computer within the school and from home: department libraries have also been added to the system.


*The Library has over 21,000 books in stock – either on the open shelves, or in the rolling stacks if less frequently used.  There is also access to audio and e-books, as well as Kindles

*Daily newspapers

*60 periodicals with several online versions available

*460 DVDs and other media

*Online resources e.g. Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Scholarship, Cambridge Collections, EBSCO and JSTOR, which is the main access to undergraduate academic journals

*There are four computers available to use in the Library, but all boys possess their own digital devices which has opened up more desk space for studying


HRH Princess Alexandra officially opened the library in 2016
HRH Princess Alexandra visit the refurbished library in 2016

Facilities at Tonbridge