Upper Norwood Joint Library – unique amongst Britain’s public libraries!
The Upper Norwood Joint Library is the only remaining independent, joint-funded public library in the country. It serves the residents of Crystal Palace, a district where as many as five boroughs converge. 2008 marked the 110th anniversary of the signing of the first Joint Library Agreement between the forerunners of the Croydon and Lambeth Councils of today, in 1898.
Belonging to and funded by the two local authorities, it has its own joint committee and operates independently of the library services of the two parent boroughs. It also has its own leafy car park available (by purchasable permit) to library visitors.
The library provides a range of services that make it an important and valued local amenity in the Upper Norwood community. The thriving Children’s Library has links with many local schools and stages a popular weekly programme of activities.
Visitors often comment on the wide selection of adult lending books available. The large Basement Reserve is full of classic titles, interesting older fiction and non fiction and local history material, beyond what one would normally expect to find in anything other than a central library.
Located close to the site of the iconic Crystal Palace, the library holds an important collection on this world famous building, which burnt down in 1936. There are also collections on Upper Norwood and, to a lesser extent, neighbouring districts, and a special collection on Gerald Massey, a Victorian poet, Chartist, Spiritualist and Egyptologist (see www.gerald-massey.org.uk). Local History postcards of the area are for sale at the enquiry desk on the ground floor.