The English Public Library 1945-85

Introductions to Heritage Assets

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This guide looks at the development of public libraries in England after the Second World War. It places their architecture – external and also internal – within a period of considerable political, social and economic change.

Post-war aspirations set new challenges for the country’s library services, which had already begun to expand considerably in the 1930s. Outwardly, new library buildings continued – financial constraints permitting - to reflect civic pride and aspirations, while inside new layouts, fixtures and fittings provided for an increasingly middle-class readership. Children’s services were ever-more important, while larger libraries offered facilities such as local studies and record libraries, and later computers.


  • Introduction
  • Historical background
  • The background to post-war library building
  • The earliest post-war libraries, 1955-65
  • Later developments in library design, 1965-85
  • Change and the future
  • Further reading

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 20
  • Product Code: HEAG136


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