The first public library in England to be funded by Andrew Carnegie, the foundation stone was laid by Sir Hugo Swire, on the day of King Edward VII’s coronation: 9 August 1902. Sir Hugo had visited Carnegie in Skibo castle and personally made the request for funding.
Design of the library was open to competition, and the one by McKewan and Swan of Birmingham was chosen. Both were young architects: Arthur McKewan was 30 in 1901, and James Arthur Swan was 27, and studied the Arts and Crafts movement and ideas.
RS Crossley was appointed chief librarian when the building opened in 1904.
An extension was added in 1961. The building was fully refurbished in 2007, with many original features restored. It was given Grade II listing in 1986.
Current status: still a public library, operated by City of Bradford MDC (2021)
- Year grant given (if known): 1899
- Amount of grant: £10,000
- Year opened (and by who – if known): 20 August 1904, by the Duke of Devonshire
Photo of library today:
Bronze plaque commemorating the opening
Stone bust of Carnegie just inside the entrance.
Old photo of library (postcard):
Visited during a holiday in Yorkshire in 2011
- Entry on the listed buildings register
- New investment in Keighley library building is welcomed by local history research groups (1916) Funding awarded to maintain the building
- Featured as an “archetype” library on the Shelf-Life project website