We think 175 years of public libraries in Wellington is a great reason to celebrate!

Pop in to your library this Saturday, 21 November, for this special anniversary. It all started with this advertisement in The NZ Gazette and Wellington Spectator, 27 November 1840:

Public Library and Reading Room: A meeting will be held at Barrett’s Hotel at 11 o’clock precisely, on Tuesday next December 1st 1840 to take steps for the formation of a Public Library and Reading room; when the attendance of those interested in the undertaking is requested.

A highlight on Saturday at 11:30am is this fascinating talk:

Libris 175 : From Serial Murders to a Public Library Service.

What could connect a series of horrific murders in early 19th Century Scotland with New Zealand’s first public library? Local History specialist Gábor Tóth will explain the origin of Wellington City Libraries and some of the fascinating characters who were involved in its history and development as we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of our predecessor institution in 1840. This free talk will also include a presentation of items selected from the library’s collection of rare books.

What else is happening?

Librarians are dressing for the occasion, with Central Library staff taking on the earliest era – Victorian; Newtown and Island Bay – Edwardian; Karori, Cummings Park and Khandallah – 1910–1930s; Johnsonville and Tawa – 1940–1950s; Kilbirnie and Miramar – 1960–1970s. Why not take a selfie with a librarian from years gone by and tweet it to @wcl_library, #selfie175 and #libris175 ?

There are will be competitions to enter and if you come along, there may just be a surprise for you!

If you’re not a member, join now and choose a special edition 175 anniversary library membership card. If you’re already a member, you can swap your current card for an anniversary card for $2. (Please note that your card number will change, so tell librarians if you use our eLibrary services).

Fabulous commemorative calendars are on sale now for $25 at all of our libraries, just in time for Christmas. A series of historic photographic banners will be making their way around branches after the 21st.

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