Community Contributed

Carnegie Library, Levin

Kete Horowhenua2020-03-23T16:57:15+00:00
Opened on 29 November 1911, the Carnegie Public Library was located on the north-west corner of Oxford and Bath Streets.
GPS latitude40.6235
GPS longitude175.2848
LocationCorner Oxford and Bath Streets, Levin
Construction date1910
ArchitectJames Bennie

This library was constructed in 1910 with funding of £1,500 from the American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie funded 18 libraries in New Zealand - the other 17 were in Onehunga, Hamilton, Cambridge, Thames, New Plymouth, Hastings, Dannevirke, Marton, Westport, Greymouth, Hokitika, Fairlie, Timaru, Alexandra, Dunedin, Gore and Balclutha.

The Carnegie Library Grants required that the library offer a free lending service and free admission to the reading rooms. However of the 18 Carnegie Libraries established in New Zealand, only 3 or 4 actually provided a free service.

It was designed by Wellington-based architect James Bennie - it was the first of several buildings that he designed in Levin - including the Levin Borough Council Chambers, the Deluxe Theatre (later known as the Regent Theatre), the Levin Swimming Baths, and retails shops including a 2-shop building in Oxford Street for Mr. Worsfield, Jeweller.

The Library was opened on 29 November 1911 by the premier, Sir Joseph Ward. In The Evening Post a report of the opening it was stated that another £200 was raised locally for furnishing and books for the library.

The Library moved into a new building in Bath Street in 1965 and the old Carnegie Library building was demolished in 1969. On the site in 2007 is an office building with shops - currently occupied by State Insurance and Bremuhls Jeweller.

Janice Atkinson (nee Swanwick) wrote about the Carnegie Library in the Levin Remembers publication from the Horowhenua Library Trust in 2006.