The English Public Library 1945-85

Introductions to Heritage Assets

Buy printed version from bookshop

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
Was this page helpful?

Related Publications

Also of interest...


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Fax: 01793 414926
Textphone: 0800 015 0516
Email: [email protected]