Built by the local firm Henry Fallas & Sons, who had recently completed the Town Hall next door, the foundation stone was laid by Cllr. A. Horsfield J.P. on the 4th January 1905.
A grant of £2,000 had been obtained from the Carnegie Foundation*, which along with money raised locally, provided Horbury with its own public library.
The design of the new library was the work of architect Mr. B. Watson, of Batley & the grand opening ceremony took place on Wednesday 14th February 1906, Cllr. Horsfield again doing the honours. The Wakefield Express of Saturday 17th February 1906 described the new library’s original layout, which was quite different from today:
“A large hall extends from the entrance lobby almost from the front to the rear of the building. On the left side of the entrance is the general news-room (45ft 6in by 27ft), a portion being screened off for ladies. There is accommodation for 62 gentlemen and 20 lady readers. The other principal rooms are all on the right-hand side of the entrance, and are the lending library (24ft by 28ft), reference library (15ft by 9ft), reference room (23ft 6in by 12ft) and librarian’s room (9ft by 8ft). The reference room will accommodate 16 readers. The lending library has shelving accommodation for 10,000 volumes and the reference library for 3,000 volumes.”
*Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was born to humble beginnings in Dunfermline & emigrated to America, along with his parents and younger brother Tom in 1848. Thanks to hard work & determination he became a very successful businessman. He is best known though for his philanthropic tendencies. His gifts of free public library buildings began in his native Dunfermline and ultimately extended throughout the English-speaking world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In total, he endowed 2,509 public libraries, including Horbury.
Looking to the right of the Library is a single storey brick building, which was granted grade 2 listing in 2019. This was built as a decontamination unit for use in WW2.