History of the Library

The people of Onchan began to Read Local with their own library back in 1944. The library has changed a lot since then, We now stock thousands of titles for all ages, and offer digital audio and ebooks and Internet services. Everyone is welcome to call in and browse, or join in our events throughout the year.

The first lending library for Onchan was opened in  Hawthorn House, where Onchan District Commissioners is now located.

The Library was introduced following on from a proposal by Commissioner Mr J H Nicholls.

It was officially opened on Sat 2nd December 1944 by H.E.The Lieutenant Governor and his wife, Countess Granville. The Countess Granville was a sister to the Queen Mother.

This was wartime, and books were scarce. The Military Hospital at The Majestic Hotel gave a donation of books, and the Petty Officer's Mess of HMS St George, stationed at Cunningham's Camp in Victoria Road, donated £18.00 to buy books.

More books were supplied by the Rural Library Service, where Mona Douglas was the first Librarian.

The library outgrew Hawthorn House in 1969, and moved next door to Hebron Hall. By April 1982, the library had moved again to Beech House.

A purpose-designed library was later built on the site of Willow Cottage, and the library moved to Willow House in 1988.

We now stock thousands of titles for all ages, and offer digital audio and ebooks and Internet  services. Everyone is welcome to call in and browse, or join in our events throughout the year.

70 years of the Library in 2014 with a 40s themed celebration

In 2015, the library was proud to be renamed "Harvey Briggs Onchan Library" in memory of the former Commissioner, Captain of The Parish, and longstanding Farming Correspondent for Isle of Man Newspapers.

Harvey Briggs lived at Ballakilmartin in Onchan, and we have his book 'Harvest of Memories' on the library shelves.

He was a great library supporter and generous benefactor to the District of Onchan.

Harvey and Laura Briggs

Members of Harvey Briggs' family are pictured here with the Chairman of Onchan District Commissioners.



Librarians

Dates

Librarian

1944 - 1959
Mr T L Richardson
1959 - 1973
Mr Auberry Barrett
1973 - 1988
Mrs Ann Kneale
1988 - 1994
Mrs Wilma Prentice
1994 - 2020
Mrs Pam Hand
2020
Ms Melanie Jones
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