Milton Keynes library celebrates its 40th birthday

The library was first opened 40 years ago this week.

By James Lowson
Friday, 4th June 2021, 11:52 am

The Central Library in Milton Keynes first opened its doors 40 years ago, on June 3, 1981.

Yesterday (June 3), was the 40th birthday for Milton Keynes' biggest library, which has acted as a Covid hub during the pandemic.

The building covers 2,816 square metres across two floors and houses more than 188,000 books and 12,500 digital titles.

Milton Keynes Central Library turned 40 this week

The library reopened this week on Tuesday (June 1), after months of being used as a Covid testing centre.

The lending library on the top floor is open for visitors to browse and borrow books and audiobooks, collect reservations and make use of the study space and public computers.

Milton Keynes Council reveals that new art work has been commissioned to mark the occasion and will be installed on the Silbury Boulevard site next year.

A council spokesperson said: "Over four decades, Central Library has been visited by many writers, artists and celebrities and has housed art installations and projects, concerts and theatre productions. In 2019, the library welcomed the Robotazia Exhibition, which allowed visitors to interact with a range of robots including a robot waitress."

The building was granted Grade II listing back in 2015 and artwork can be viewed throughout the building. This includes: the bronze sculpture ‘The Whisper’, by André Wallace, Boyd and Evans’ large mural painting ‘Fiction, Non-Fiction and Reference’ and Csáky’s stainless steel geometric ‘Mirror Sculpture’, which is suspended from the ceiling of the children’s library.

Councillor Zoe Nolan said: “We’re really proud to mark 40 years since Central Library first opened its doors. I love this library which has been so important to generations of families in Milton Keynes.

"In the early nineties, Central Library was the busiest library in the country and continues to support our residents, schools and businesses today. Whilst the building has changed very little, the service has evolved to offer digital titles and access to technology that not everyone can find at home.”

The library also contains a 15-foot-long sea reptile, described as Milton Keynes' oldest resident, having lived about 160 million years ago. Its skeleton was discovered during the excavation of the Caldecotte Lake in 1982.

This summer, with all Milton Keynes libraries now reopen, a MK Reading Adventure is planned. It will run from 1 July to 24 September to encourage children to read for fun over the summer.