Originally meant as the central library of the former Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury, this library was relegated to branch status upon its opening in 1967, following the creation of the London Borough of Islington. Consequently, the program for the building, designed by Carl Ludwig Franck, was on par with its intended status as a cultural centre, with a lecture hall, communal kitchen, craft workshops, several meeting rooms and a rooftop garden.
The importance of the new library was also tied to the history of the building it was replacing, the former Clerkenwell library on Skinner street (now demolished), known as “the first modern library in Great Britain” for its revolutionary use of open shelving in 1894.
The main facade of the library on St. John Street sports a row of thin columns clad in teal mosaic tiles, supporting the overhanging second floor, whose square windows alternate with panels of dark mosaic and concrete aggregate. The entrance, announced by a porte cochère, leads to the expansive open floor of the library, coiffed by a shallow, barrel-vaulted ceiling pierced by rectangular light wells.
The images shown here date from my brief visit in July 2022.
Library detail pages are primarily a place for me to collect information I gather on the libraries I visit, and are frequently updated. None of this should be considered authoritative, I am not an architect, nor a historian. If you notice something incorrect, please let me know!