Carnegie libraries slideshow


Click on the photograph above to see images of Carnegie libraries in Fairlie, Hokitika, Greymouth, Levin and Cambridge. They were among the 18 erected in New Zealand. Carnegie libraries were also built in Balclutha, Gore, Dunedin, Alexandra, Timaru, Westport, Dannevirke, Marton, New Plymouth, Hastings, Thames, Hamilton and Onehunga. Each was designed by a local architect - some, like Cambridge, as wings on town halls or council buildings, but most as dedicated buildings.

Twelve of the buildings remain today, with a number saved from demolition by the local communities they served. Greymouth was destroyed by arson in 1947, and Levin was demolished by the local council in 1965. The others that have been demolished or destroyed were Hastings (1931), New Plymouth (1957), Hamilton (1960) and Alexandra (1978).

Balclutha and Marton are the only two to continue to operate as libraries. In a 2005 National Geographic article on ‘Carnegie’s legacy’, Kerry Rodgers noted that this proportion (11%) compares favourably to the proportion that continued to operate as libraries in the United States (3.5%).