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Last updated: 2 June 2009

WANGANUI City Library

Collection | Ref # NZC1 | Held by Wanganui District Library

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WANGANUI City Library


WANGANUI City Library

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Former NRAM reference number:



Wanganui Public Library was established when a number of prominent Wanganui gentlemen took control of the Oddfellows Library. On 6 January 1877, they filed a declaration of incorporation in the Wellington courts and the first public library in Wanganui was formed. The library was run by a Board of Directors and people joined on a subscription basis. The first Honorary Librarian and first subscriber was the Hon. John Ballance. The library remained in the Oddfellows rooms until the opening of the first library building in 1882. The Government presented the directors with a site for the new building in 1880 and tenders were called for its construction. The building was financed by two art and industrial exhibitions held in 1877 and 1881 and by the issuing of debentures for a loan. In 1914 the directors decided to hand the library over to the Borough Council but the proposal was delayed with the outbreak of war. In November 1917 the Borough Council received notice of a bequest from Miss Elizabeth Alexander for the purpose of building a museum and public library in memory of her late father, James Alexander. The library was handed over to the Borough in February 1918.

These records cover the first part of the history of the Public Library in Wanganui, the period of administration by a Board of Directors and membership by subscription. They contain minutes of meetings, some correspondence, annual and monthly reports and financial records such as receipts and bank books. They also cover the art and industrial exhibitions held to raise funds for the library.


Dates covered:

1877 - 1918

Access conditions:

Not restricted

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Associated with:




Exhibitions, Art and Industrial

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