"New beauties": The design of British public library buildings in the 1960s

Alistair Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1960 the architectural correspondent of London's Times newspaper praised contemporary architects for having evolved what he called new beauties: attractive, modernist buildings created out of new techniques and approaches to style and structure. This study features a particular set of these new beauties: public library buildings of the 1960s, both large and small. In the 1960s, public library design finally broke free from its Victorian heritage. The new library buildings that appeared in this decade, clothed as they were in the architectural modernism of the time, reflected an age of optimism and intended modernization, when faith in the postwar welfare state was at its height, when hopes for technological and economic renewal were running high, and when the outlook of professional librarians was becoming increasingly progressive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-111
Number of pages41
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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