Look & See – Q30

The Library was built next to the house of George Smith, father of Swire Smith, which was originally included in the land earmarked for the Library. Andrew Carnegie had promised Keighley £10,000 to build a Free Library, through his friend Swire Smith in 1899, because he much admired the strength of Mechanics Institute the way the opportunity for higher self-education had been taken up in the town. This was the first time that he had offered funding for a Free Library but it was the first of many. One of the conditions was that the Borough Council had to supply the ground for it to be built on. Plans were drawn up for the smaller plot of land and Swire Smith laid the foundation stone in 1902, on Coronation Day, next door to the house that he had now inherited. When the Library eventually opened, in 1904, it was gifted the whole of the Mechanics Library, between 10,000 and 13,000 books, and inherited the Mechanics Librarian.