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Happy 100th Birthday, Epsom Library!

Published: 3 September 2018

L-R: Peter Haynes (Chair, Albert-Eden Local Board), Margi Watson (Board Member), Glenda Fryer (Deputy-Chair, Albert-Eden Local Board) Lee Corrick  (Board Member) and Morgan Borthwick (Manager, Community Libraries).

This year Epsom Library celebrates 100 years of bringing reading pleasure to the community. To mark the milestone, readers, book lovers and locals gathered for a cosy morning tea, shared their love for literature and celebrated with cake.

Morgan Borthwick, the Manager of Epsom Community Library, began working in libraries when he was just 16.

“This library opened in 1918 at the end of the First World War and has been around for almost every momentous event of the 20th century – from the moon landing to the invention of the internet and that is just awe-inspiring to think about,” said Mr Borthwick.

Speaking at the opening, Albert-Eden Local Board Chair Peter Haynes noted that the Epsom Library was the result a local body amalgamation. The Epsom Road Board was amalgamated in 1916 into the Auckland City Council, and within ten months the City Council decided to establish the library on this site (the offices of the Manukau Water Board).

By 1955 the library was notably neglected, with a leaky roof. But by 1970, it had bounced back and was one of the busiest libraries in Auckland City, with 4500 members and 210,000 issues annually. It was very popular and remains so to this day.

Dr Haynes says, “We’re here to celebrate not the building or the collections, but the people who provide the warm welcome and wonderful service and engage so well with our community.”

He added that average libraries build their collections and good libraries improve their services, and in those terms, Epsom Library “is very good indeed."

“Wonderful libraries build communities and Epsom Library has been very successful indeed! With a range of activities for all ages and communities, Epsom Library is a vital, integral and important part of the community,” he says.

The celebration concluded with a stunning choir performance by Epsom Girls Grammar. It is a fitting prelude to Auckland Heritage Festival 2018.