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Centenary Celebrations: 100 years of the Devon County Library Service 

Posted on 01 May 2024

This year, Libraries Unlimited is celebrating 100 years of a county library service in Devon.

In 1924, the County Library Service in Devon was inaugurated by the County Council with a grant from the Carnegie Trust. The Trust was founded in 1913 with the specific aim of improving well-being, and of course, the building of libraries was considered fundamental to that aim.  

The first Devon County librarian – Stanley T. Williams – was appointed in July, and in celebration of his appointment, libraries throughout Devon and Torbay will be hosting a variety of centenary-inspired events over the coming months.   

Of course, the history of libraries goes back much further. A huge part of why public libraries still exist goes back to the Public Libraries Act in 1850 – to provide universal, free access to information and literature, for the greater social good.   

Our centenary-inspired events and fundraising initiatives! 

Photograph of Rachel Payne white woman smiling and running down a track

There are lots of fundraising initiatives happening this year marking the 100 years, to help raise awareness of our charity and the important support the work we do.   

The Teams at Barnstaple and South Molton Libraries are tackling a 100 book readathon, Buckfastleigh Library are awarding prizes for every 100th book issue, and Okehampton are exploring their library’s own history and asking people to share memories. Keep an eye on our What’s On pages for full details of events happening in libraries in Devon and libraries in Torbay.

Several team members are undertaking sponsored centenary-inspired 100km (62 mile) challenges too – raising money for children’s literacy: 

Rachel Payne – 100km Two Moors Way Coast to Coast Challenge
Rachel is our Business Development & Fundraising Manager and this May will be attempting to 100km nonstop across Dartmoor and Exmoor.
Find out more and support Rachel’s 100km run this May

Andy Bowditch – 100km Thames Path Ultra Challenge
Andy is our Performance Reporting and Data Manager will be completing the 100km Thames Path Ultra Challenge in September.
Find out more and support Andy’s 100km walk this September 

Eve Ashton – walking 100 miles during the month of June
Eve Ashton is the Centre Manager overseeing our libraries in Torbay. Throughout the month of June she’ll be walking 100 miles with her two Golden Retrievers.
Find out more and support Eve’s 100 mile challenge

Keep an eye on our website and socials to find more details of other challenges coming up.  

Alternatively, why not take on a challenge yourself- perhaps with family, friends or colleagues?  There is lots of inspiration in our Fundraiser’s Pack, or get in touch with if you have an idea! 

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.