Museum seeks your memories of Woodside Library

Staff at the Black Country Living Museum are looking for memories of Woodside Library in Dudley which forms an integral part of their new development project; 'Forging Ahead'. 

The library was opened in 1894 to serve the south west part of Dudley, with land for the library and Woodside Park being donated by the Earl of Dudley. As such the library, and the adjacent police-houses and fire station, were constructed with a covenant limiting it to public use only.

The building, which featured a reading room and lending library on the ground floor and a recreation room and retiring room upstairs, was intended for the benefit of the working people of the Woodside area. At the start of its life, the library was 'closed stack', meaning visitors had to request books from the librarian, however it converted to open access in 1934.

After World War Two, libraries began to modernise and Dudley libraries were at the forefront – they increased their book stocks by 15,000 a year, included paperbacks for the first time and gramophone records, mostly classical music and language learning tools.

The upstairs rooms were used for a variety of clubs and societies, and dances hosted by local compere Horace Robinson. The building was refurbished in the early 1970s and operated until 2008.

Do you have any personal stories or family connection with the Library? Did you borrow there, study there, or dance there? If you do have anything you would like to share to help the interpretation of the library, you can get in touch by emailing or by calling 0121 557 9643.


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