Rushden Library - Newton Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Dragontree
N 52° 17.362 W 000° 35.777
30U E 663938 N 5795944
Quick Description: This Carnegie Library lies in the heart of Rushden town.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/25/2011 12:47:58 PM
Waymark Code: WMAV1R
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 3

Long Description:
A grand library building dated to 1905 which is located in Rushden. It is constructed of stone with red brick.

The Rushden Research Group has a brilliantly detailed article on the library which is quoted below. Please visit the original website to see some photographs with the FULL article: visit link

'The Beginning of the Library
It is thanks to Councillor J. Claridge that Rushden had a Public or “Free” Library for it was he who wrote to the Scottish American millionaire Andrew Carnegie and secured from him the offer of £2,000 with which “to provide a Free Public Library building on condition that the Public Libraries Act of 1892 be adopted and a maximum rate of 1d in the £ be levied, and that a suitable site was provided, the cost of which was not to be a burden on the rates.

Rushden Urban District Council met on 15 July 1902 to consider the offer and accepted it unanimously. A committee was appointed consisting of Councillor George Denton (Chairman of the Council), with Councillors J. Claridge, T. Swindall, F. Knight, and W.E.Wilkins who were to solicit subscriptions towards the cost of the site. The Public Libraries Act was adopted on 27 August, to come into effect on 1 November 1902.

During 1903 eight possible sites were considered by the Sites Committee and two Town Meetings before an agreement was reached and the Council’s Surveyor, Mr. W.B. Madin, was instructed “to prepare for and superintend the construction of the new Library building.”

The Library was opened at 3pm on Saturday 25 November 1905 by the Marquis of Northampton, Mr Carnegie having declined the honour as he was in America on that date. Click here to read an account of the opening ceremony.

This jovial spirit was not to last, however. In December 1905 the Committee of Public Safety brought to the Council a petition signed by 30 people asking that the Betting News be removed from the papers stocked in the Library. The Council appointed a Committee for the Management and Control of the Free Library and referred the matter to it.

A caretaker, Mr J. Hazeldine, was appointed in November 1906 but no librarian until December 1907 when the Clerk was instructed to advertise for a young lady to attend at the Library from 9am – 1pm and from 4pm – 8.30pm at a salary of 12s a week.

On 17 April 1907, at its Annual Meeting, Rushden Urban District Council appointed a Committee for the Management of the Free Library during the ensuing three years with executive powers and this set the pattern of management for many years to come.

Book Stock
Records about the early years of the Library are incomplete and in particular it is difficult to establish the number of books in stock as the reports merely quote the numbers of books added each year, but with no reference to the initial number of books provided. For a long time most of the books added were adult fiction and only a very small number of adult non-fiction being bought. Until 1919, the Library’s budget was restricted to the product of the 1d rate and like many other libraries in the country, had to rely heavily on donations. In the year 1917 – 1918 29 juvenile books were added to the stock, and 218 adult, of which only 6 were non-fiction, and 5 of these had been presented by members of the public. In 1922 – 1923 only 2 adult non-fiction books were added. Eventually, in 1929 the Council decided to join a scheme of inter-library co-operation – “the free interchange of books, excluding fiction, between the various libraries in the County ........the County Library to act as the clearing house.” While this was still not a perfect solution, it was a vital factor in helping to meet the needs of students and other readers with specialist needs.

In the mid 1930’s Miss Marian Perkins was appointed to the Library, first as an assistant, later as Librarian in succession to the first Librarian, Miss Mantle. Basic office equipment was added to the Library, including a typewriter which facilitated the production of an annual classified list of new non-fiction, leading in turn to a large increase in non-fiction issues.

Over the next 10 years, the Librarian acquired two assistants who could attend to the routine issuing of books, allowing her to classify the existing non-fiction books in the Library and to compile an author catalogue of both fiction and non-fiction books. Four “Book Talks” were also given for the first time. A major landmark was the opening of a Junior Library Department in April 1943.

This was remarkable progress for wartime. Evacuees posed a major problem for a Library which started the war with barely 5,000 books, but more children’s books were procured from Walthamstow and Wellingborough Libraries, and additional staff appointed.

In the decade 1939-1940 to 1949-1950, the bookstock nearly trebled and book issues went up by nearly 60,000, from 74,000 to 134,000, a figure not to be equalled for another ten years.

In 1930 Rushden Urban District Council became a Corporate member of the Library Association which allowed the Library to obtain a licence under the Net Books Agreement with the Publisher’s Association, thereby securing a discount on book purchases. It also began to exercise its right to send a representative to the Library Association Annual Conference and various regional meetings.

Within its first 25 years of life, three problems were emerging which were to last as long as the Library itself. These were: insufficiency of shelf space for all the books, delay or non-return of books borrowed and theft or mutilation of papers in the Magazine Room.

The Local Government Act of 1972 meant an end to independence for Rushden Library, and at the invitation of the County Librarian, Rushden came together with the other independent libraries in Northamptonshire to form a group of “Northamptonshire Chief Librarians.” In this group they tried to plan for a smooth and orderly transition from the old to the new order and to work out together in detail “the shape of things to come.” Northampton Borough, Kettering and Wellingborough were each to become the head of their region of the county, but Rushden could not on account of the inadequacy of the 1905 building. After all, the Carnegie Library given to the town in 1905 had been built to serve a population of little more than 12,000, not the population of nearly 22,000 the town had grown to by 1972. So Rushden Public Library as an independent entity died but continued as one of the new “Northamptonshire Libraries.”

In 1991 a reorganisation of Northamptonshire Libraries and Information Service included the introduction of Area Teams of librarians with responsibility for managing an area. Rushden was part of the Higham Ferrers Area, with Derrick Bond as Principal Librarian and Tina Hackett as Library Supervisor at Rushden.

In 1995, by which time Rushden was part of the East Area under Julie Moreland (Principal Librarian), a major refurbishment of the library took place. In partnership with East Northamptonshire District Council backroom functions of the library were transferred to the neighbouring council building and magnificent atrium was built providing both buildings with disabled access for the first time and allowing the library to expand considerably. With its sensitive refurbishment in 1995 the best features of the old library were retained but the building was made much more open than previously. In 1996 Tina Hackett retired and was replaced by the Wellingborough Library supervisor, Dominica Jones.'

Address of Library Building:
Rushden Library/The Rushden Centre
Newton Road
Rushden, Northamptonshire United Kingdom
NN10 0PT


Current Use of Building: Library

Year Built (optional): 1905

Website about building: [Web Link]

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basingstokeboy visited Rushden Library - Newton Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK 12/30/2011 basingstokeboy visited it