lh_logo: mosaic:

Living Heritage


The reading

The 20th

Carnegie and
considerable changes

From the
60s to today

A pictorial


St Peter's College

The History of the Public Library


The Original Public Library

How has the library evolved over the past 126 years?

Over a century has passed since a group of local residents established a public library. Throughout the past 126 years the library has been of growing importance to the community, as a source of information and leisure. How the library has adapted over the years, especially considering the rapid evolvment of society, is a very interesting story.

From the simplicity of its origins as a 'reading room', to occupation of an architecturally renowned building, the Palmerston North Public Library has a history as important and remarkable as any aspect of the city. Through this website I endeavour to inform you of this history, so you might have some idea of the cultural, economic and social importance the library has had and continues to have in its community.

A Brief Timeline

1876 – Opening of the original public library.

1879 – The borough council takes control.

1885 – Building destroyed by fire.

1886 – Council withdraws support.

1890 – Collection in care of Palmerston North Working Men's Club.

1894 – Collection in care of Volunteer Fire Brigade.

1900 – Council opens second 'reading room' and lending library.

1905 – Library swaps locations with the borough council.

1906 – 'Crawling to Carnegie' affair.

1929 – Library moves to corner of Fitzherbert Avenue and the Square.

1938 – Subscription system abolished.

1965 – Library moves to corner of Main St and the Square.

1967 – Mobile library established.

1996 – Move to Central Library building on the Square.

Home – A brief introduction and explanation with a timeline.

The 'reading room' – The beginning for the Palmerston North Public Library, from 1876.

The 20th century – The borough council's establishment of a new reading room and library.

Carnegie and considerable changes – A difficult period and significant changes.

From the 60's to today – Continual growth and two location changes.

A pictorial narrative – Photographs of the six buildings the library has occupied from 1876 to 1996.

Sources – A list of sources used for information, with my email address if you have any queries.