Celebrating eighty years of Leith Library

Eighty years ago this month Leith Library opened and – despite the best efforts of Adolf Hitler – it’s not only still here, it’s thriving.

The new Town Hall and Library was originally built as the fulfilment of a promise by the City Council when Leith was amalgamated into the capital, and opened its doors on 20th July 1932.

Brand new novels such as ‘Sunset Song‘, ‘Cold Comfort Farm‘ and perhaps most fittingly, ‘Brave New World‘ would have been among the most popular reads with early borrowers, who would have been mightily impressed by the library’s row of book counting cyclometers, its facilities for ‘cinema talkie shows’ and other features which put it at the technological cutting edge.

But the library has seen dark times as well. In 1941 the explosion of an enemy parachute mine caused extensive damage.

The building reopened in the 1960s and has since gone from strength to strength, adapting to the needs of the community it serves.

Today the site is home to a Registrar’s Office, a council office, the Thomas Morton Hall and a wedding suite, as well as the recently refurbished and much loved library.

We’re very proud of the impact the library has had on the area and to celebrate the strength of our community and sense of shared history we’ve lined up a series of celebratory events culminating in a massive birthday party where we’ll be transporting the library back to the 1930s. See below for details.

In the meantime, we’d love to get your memories and experiences of the library, so feel free to share them here or on our facebook page.

Here’s to the next eighty years!

80th Birthday Week Events

Open Day
Stalls showcasing council services and local organisations. Free family events will be held throughout the day.
Friday 13th July, 11am – 3pm

Birthday themed stories for under 5s
Monday 16th July, 3.00 – 3.30pm

Birthday Bookbug
Tuesday 17th July, 10.30 – 11.15am

My favourite place is… Leith
A creative writing workshop for adults
Wednesday 18th July, 6.30 – 8.00pm

Leith Time Bank
Come together and share skills.
Friday 20th July from 1pm.

Big Birthday Celebrations!
From 2pm it’s Big Birthday Celebrations! We’ll transport the library back to the 1930s, with music and birthday cake. Make birthday cards and view our display of old photographs and library documents.
Friday 20th July, 2 – 4pm.

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One thought on “Celebrating eighty years of Leith Library

  1. Leith Library is also a facinating building because of its Panopticon design. It is organised in a semi-circle, with stacks radiating out from a central point, where a single librarian can sit and view the entire library.

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