Maitland Library turns 50

Maitland Library turns 50

Earlier this week I went to a special event celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the iconic Maitland City Library building on High Street. The library is a grand building and it has become a real jewel in the crown of Maitland’s town centre so to be there for the 50th anniversary was an absolute pleasure.

I learnt a little bit about the building prior to the event and I found it quite interesting. The decision for a new building was made in 1966 and from what I’ve been told it was vigorously debated by the Council of the time, led by Mayor Alderman J Wolstenhome. He was quoted at the time saying that in the several years leading up to 1966, no matter had received more consideration by Council than the new library and the site where it was to be situated.

The library was designed by Walter Bunning (also the architect of the Australian National Library in Canberra) and construction began soon after. The foundation stone was unveiled by Member for Maitland and Minister for Transport Milton Morris on 6 May 1968. The event (pictured) was attended by over 400 people including dignitaries, community leaders, parents and school kids. It was ten times the capacity of the original library and the cost was around $188,000, which equates to around $2.2 million today.

It felt good to celebrate the longevity of such a wonderful building this week. The library has adapted and changed over the years and staff have always strived to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of what has been a growing community. I want to congratulate all the staff, volunteers and community groups who have played a part in making that happen.

Earlier this week new banners went up as part of the Walls That Talk project as well. The banners feature some fantastic 1960s photographs and it’s the perfect reminder of the 50 year anniversary of the library.  

I’m really proud of this wonderful facility and if you haven’t visited for a while, I recommend you do so. It is so much more than books, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.