Now we are 50 – Chichester Library’s 50th Anniversary

Special events are being held to celebrate Chichester Library's 50th birthday.


Chichester Library is 50 years old this year and will be celebrating its golden milestone birthday with special events.

The library, in Tower Street, was opened on 24 January 1967 and a week of special events are being held from Tuesday 24 January.

The locally designed and built library was purpose-built as a public library and as the headquarters of West Sussex County Council Library Service. The building was Grade II listed by Historic England in 2015.

It is notable for being the first public library in Britain to use a computerised issue system and a computerised library catalogue was introduced in 1973.

David Barling, Cabinet Member for Residents Services, said: “Happy birthday Chichester Library! The library is an iconic building within Chichester. It was ground breaking for its time in terms of design and architecture and remains a well-loved and well used facility within Chichester.”

Library Manager, Gareth Edmunds, said: “The library is a fantastic building to be based in and is so close to the city centre with its mix of stylish architecture. It’s a pleasure working with my colleagues and to help answer questions and help people find a great book to read.”

They include:

  • 1960s Storytime and Games – Saturday 21 January
    Join us for a 1960s-themed storytime at 11am as well as 1960s games throughout the day. We will also be launching our family quiz which will run until Saturday 28 January. All completed quizzes will be entered into a prize draw.
  • Birthday Coffee Morning – Tuesday 24 January
    Come and share your memories with us, enjoy a slice of cake and discover all the library has to offer. Celebrated crime writer Peter Lovesey, winner of the prestigious Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, will be cutting the cake at 10.30am, followed by a performance by New Community Choir Chichester at 11am.
  • Repositories of Learning Walk with local historian Alan Green – Tuesday 24 January
    Join local historian Alan Green for a walk around Chichester looking at the locations of libraries in the city over the years. 1.30pm-3.30pm. Tickets £5. Meet at Chichester Library at 1.30pm, followed by refreshments in the library afterwards.
  • Now We Are 50 – Tuesday 24 January
    An illustrated talk at 7.30pm celebrating 50 years of Chichester Library against the backdrop of the 1960s with local studies librarian Martin Hayes and information librarian Geoffrey Redman. Tickets £5.
  • Free lunchtime talk: Chichester Heritage Trails - Thursday 26 January
    Chris Hare will give an illustrated talk from 12.10pm-12.50pm about the development and progress of the Chichester Heritage Trails project as the first walks of the project are launched. The project is creating 12 free heritage trails around Chichester that take you on a journey of more than 2,000 years of history.
  • Free talk with children’s author Liss Norton - Thursday 26 January
    Come and meet children’s author Liss Norton from 4-5pm and find out more about her books. For ages 6+ (parents and carers are asked to remain with their child during this event.) Free tickets available from the library.
  • The Glass Room Murder Mystery Evening – Thursday 26 January
    If you love the BBC One series, Shetland and ITV’s Vera, come and solve our very own murder mystery scripted by Ann Cleeves - an evening of witness statements, forensic reports and, of course, guessing whodunnit! There will be an interval to discuss the evidence and enjoy a glass of wine. After the confession, a prize will be awarded to the audience member closest to solving the murder. The event starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £5 (to include a glass of wine).

All events take place at Chichester Library, Tower Street, Chichester, PO19 1QJ.

For a full list of West Sussex Library events see the what’s on in libraries page.

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Last updated:
6 February 2018

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