The Library in English a hidden jewel in the heart of Geneva

Librarian at work decades ago

Geneva, Switzerland – A question many new residents to Geneva ask is: where to find books in English? The Library in English is one of those great places! You can read at the library, become a member or buy books during their bi-annual sale.

The library is nestled in the beautiful Emmanuel church building near Lake Geneva and boasts a selection of over 14,000 books in English.

The library traces its origins to a small shelf in the church in 189, i has been in full service since 1930. Although it is located in the Emmanuel church it is independent of it.

Pam Scott, main librarian

“We carry a bit for everyone,” says librarian Pam Scott. “We have a really large and eclectic selection of books. There are American, Australian, British, and Indian popular authors available all year-round.”

“We can offer advise on the kind of books you or your kids might be interested in reading,” says Scott; which is a plus as the library’s volume can be overwhelming for younger readers.

All activities held at the library are manned by a score of volunteers.

The library relies heavily on volunteers, as well as in book sales, private donations and membership fees, to cover operating expenses.

Membership fees range from CHF50 to CHF165 per year. You can check out as many books as wanted and, should the library not have the one you are looking for, they will consider acquiring it.

The children section and the volunteers

Anna Childers, volunteers at the library

Anna Childers an American who volunteers at the library, along with her gorgeous 10-month old baby, are but two of the smiling faces at the library.

“I have met so many people here, it is a great place to volunteer,” she says and with a bright smile, as if extending an invitation says: “We are always looking for volunteers.”

The kids’ room is wonderfully stocked with plenty of board books; a gem for any parent of small children in Geneva.

“There are books for children of all ages. Popular new titles, classics, anything you are looking for,” says Scott. “And there’s a children story hour every Wednesday,” emphasizes Childers.

“The library is open to the public. You can come by and read the guide books or magazines in our visiting area,” says Childers.

Pam Scott made a great point: “You don’t have to be a library member to benefit from the sale, or the library itself.” So just stop by and read! Another plus; it’s open on Sundays. What a treat!

The book sale

Kids section at the library in English

“Every week we sort books by categories, and prepare for the huge sale,” says Childers, who says the success of the sale depends in great part, on donations.

Scott and the team of volunteers sort out thousands of books for adults and children, audio-books on CD, magazines, and DVDs which are then put for sale.

The two-day sale takes place twice a year: spring and fall. It always starts on Friday, from 10:00 to 19:00 and from 10:00 to 17:00 on Saturday.

The sale is widely announced on the Library’s website, the local English-language classifieds and in the Events section of GenevaLunch.

Books start at CHF1, now… that’s a deal!

Happy shopping.


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  1. Pilar Manzano says:

    I just missed your book sale! I have about 3000 – 4000 hardback books in English that are in VERY GOOD CONDITION! They range from best sellers to the TIME LIFE SERIES, biographies, etc. I shall be moving soon and I need to know if the library would be interested in having them.

  2. Laila Rodriguez says:

    Dear Pilar,

    Thanks for writing! The Library in English sure could take your donation but you have to drop the books off at the church.

    If you want to donate your collection and need pick up, I would suggest you call any of the charity-run brocantes which offer pick up services (featured previously in Geneva Living!) Here’s the link!

  3. Anna says:

    Dear Pilar,

    Yes, The Library in English would love your donation. Please call us at 022 732 8097 to give us more details about your collection. Thank you for thinking of us!

  4. Paula says:

    Dear Pilar,

    Just to complement Anna’s note, if you wish to donate your books, please telephone the Library who will pass on your message to one of the two volunteers who might be able to help bring them in. We normally ask for people to bring them to us, but some cannot and we try to be flexible.

  5. […] Read more about what the book sale is all about in Geneva Living. […]

  6. Lia says:

    We have books that we wish to donate, not a problem for us to drop them off, just need to know what times are are open for us to be able to do this.

    Many thanks Lia