We are a thriving Independent Historic Library and Educational Charity, welcoming new members of all ages.
We are open as usual: Tuesdays to Fridays 10am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm.
Contact us:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Gift Membership for Christmas

Gifting membership of the Devon and Exeter Institution is a wonderful, unique gift that will last all year.

A unique gift

When you gift membership to the Devon and Exeter Institution you are giving a wonderful and unique gift that will last all year, and supporting a forward-thinking independent library and educational charity with a rich history. Founded in 1813, the Institution was established “for the general diffusion of science, literature and the arts” and we are proud to uphold this vision today. Our beautiful and unique space for relaxing, socialising, to work or study and research in our elegant Georgian libraries, reading rooms with views across to the Cathedral, and a 17th century panelled parlour and cottage garden.

Members can…


Our location on the Cathedral Green makes us an excellent city centre meeting place: Bring family and friends as your guests to catch up over coffee or lunch.

Members can take a break from high street shopping to curl up with a good book or to read our wide selection of daily and weekend newspapers and magazines.


We offer a varied programme of events including evening lectures with refreshments, creative workshops for adults and children and illuminating lunchtime talks.

Our popular member-led Book Group and Cinema Club welcome new members.

Junior members can join our monthly Bookworms club to explore amazing books from our collections and to take part in craft activities and story times.

Free afternoon guided tours take place every Wednesday from 1.00-4.00pm. Our guides love sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for our heritage building and collections with local residents and visitors from all over the world.

Work or Study

Make the most of our calm and tranquil atmosphere.  Our members can use a variety of spaces for work or study and we have WiFi and socket points throughout the building. We also hire meeting rooms and evening events spaces.


We are a living library. Our collections of more than 30,000 books and 9000 illustrations are at the heart of everything we do, from our schools’ outreach programme to our collaboration with community groups.  We use our collections to inspire, inform and intrigue. We welcome new interpretation which challenges our understanding of historic collections in the 21st Century.

Our heritage and local studies collections are searchable online and fully accessible to members. We offer a bespoke and friendly research service and provide access to a wide range of online databases and resources.


Our small, friendly, and professional staff team is supported by enthusiastic volunteers in a variety of roles.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved with the people and work of the Institution – and we like to thank our volunteers with regular social events throughout the year.

Members can come and enjoy a heritage haven right in the heart of the city – an ideal step away from the hustle and bustle of the high street where you can find peace and calm in a unique atmosphere and enjoy a programme of events and workshops.

Our beautiful book-lined Georgian library, with its original collection, is a wonderful space for reading and study.  We have free wifi, newspapers, journals and magazines for our members to peruse at their leisure.  We have study rooms and creative spaces with views across to the Cathedral – one of the best views in the city.

Members can access to our unique reference heritage collection of books, periodicals, maps, ephemera, prints and drawings and specialist support from our library team.  Members can also access online research tools, such as the London Library and Ancestry, and you can borrow books and DVDs from our modern collection.

We offer an exciting and diverse programme of talks, workshops and events throughout the year.  There are also a number of special interest groups that members can join (book group/film club etc).

Junior membership includes weekly themed creative activities, our popular monthly Bookworms club and, best of all, the chance for young minds to develop their interests and imaginations exploring our books, some of which are over 500 years old.

Individual membership £100*

Joint membership £175*

Young membership (16 – 25) £50

Junior membership (Under 16) £12

*plus an initial joining fee of £15.  All prices are for annual membership.

When you purchase a gift membership you get a welcome pack, full of information about the Institution and our programme, to wrap and give.

If you have any queries, please contact the office on 01392 274727 or email [email protected].