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Looking back at 227 years of Library Service in Arbroath

ANGUSalive has unveiled a new permanent display in Arbroath Library, which looks back on the history of a library service in Arbroath.


Arbroath has had a continuous library service since 1797, when the town’s first library, Arbroath Subscription Library was opened on Christmas Day of that year. The Subscription Library was a member only institution, which required a joining fee, as well as annual subscriptions.


In the late 19th century, towns across Scotland were beginning to adopt the Public Libraries Act of 1850. Arbroath was no different, and support was growing for a library that everyone could access.


When Arbroath industrialist, David Corsar, purchased the former Academy building on Hill Terrace and gifted it to the town, it led to the opening of Arbroath Public Library on 4 June 1898.


Items on display include the original Arbroath Subscription Library minute book, which documents the earliest history of a library in Arbroath. There are photographs of the opening of Arbroath Public Library, the unveiling of the iconic Robert Burns statue in the grounds of the library, and of the first female Librarian of the Public Library.


Craig Pearson, ANGUSalive Archives & Library Operations Lead, said: “We are delighted to have this new display for visitors at Arbroath Library. The current library has been at the heart of the community for over 125 years, and this display gives the people of Arbroath the chance to learn more about it.”


Visit Arbroath Library from Monday 22 April to see the display. Opening hours can be found at

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