Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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Deritend library staff, 1910

Deritend library staff

By 1910, the library had been in service for 56 years. The Deritend Library was opened on the same day that the new Birmingham Reference Library was opened, in Ratcliffe Place and the same day that the foundation stone of Gosta Green library was laid - 26th October 1866.

The library was built at a cost of £486, which included the salary of the first librarian £75 for the first year and a boy assistant on a salary of £13 for the year, the £486 also included the cost of maintaining the building for the first 12 months.

The library published its first catalogue of holdings in 1866, a 53 page booklet with approximately 2,600 items listed which cost 4 pence to purchase. A very short, but charming list of 41 children's books appeared on the last page of the catalogue and included titles such as 'Little Facts for Little People', 'Stories for the Fireside', 'Little Animals described for little people', and the somewhat bemusing title, 'Little Ferns for Fanny's Little Friends'.

The library on Heath Mill Lane was eventually closed on the 16th November 1940. The area around the library was changing, slum properties were being pulled down and industry was moving in, which heralded a decrease in the population, the users of the library. The daily issue at the library had dropped to about 70 items per day, from around 320 per day a few years earlier and it was deemed 'unjustified' to keep the building open.