Rottingdean Library marks its 60th anniversary today (Saturday 22 March) with a celebration, including afternoon tea.
Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and food rationing had just ended when the village library opened in a former Georgian vicarage called the Grange.
The building had previously been a Second World War officers’ mess and the home of downland artist Sir William Nicholson from 1909 to 1914.
But now it is a vibrant community hub which houses not just the library, but also Rottingdean Museum, the Grange Art Gallery and a display about the author Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling lived in a nearby house called the Elms from 1897 to 1902.
To mark the library’s anniversary, a free event will take place at the library in The Green from 2.30pm to 5.30pm today.
There will be afternoon tea, including a birthday cake, a photo display of the building’s history, craft activities for children and a quiz.
A new disabled-accessible toilet is also being built and should be open in a few weeks.
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, who is Brighton and Hove City Council’s lead member for libraries, said: “It’s a wonderful historic place, well worth celebrating, but now getting facilities people reasonably expect in the 21st century.
“This is part of a programme of improvements at libraries which reflects their continued importance.
“We previously had no toilets there so the council has funded these to make the library a more viable and pleasant place to visit, including for people with disabilities.”
The library currently hosts computers, pre-school activities, a toddlers group, homework club and a summer tea garden.
It is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Check the council’s website for the exact hours or call 01273 296918.
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said: “Public libraries provide a valuable service for people of all ages across my constituency.
“The Rottingdean Library is a particularly special place which has been an important feature of the local area for the past 60 years.
“I fought against the library’s closure as a councillor in East Sussex over 20 years ago and so I am especially pleased that this impressive milestone has been reached.”