Maidenhead Library turns 50 next month – and the town are getting ready to celebrate the milestone for a week of free events including exhibitions, author talks, live music, the Wombles and even a 1970s silent disco.

The Royal Borough’s Library Service is inviting the whole community to join in marking this golden anniversary in style during the week of July 17, culminating in a day of celebrations on Friday, July 21.

Officially opened in July 1973 by Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, Maidenhead Library is today Grade II listed for its architectural design and remains a hub for the Maidenhead community and the borough’s library service.

Four exhibitions will run throughout the week and do not need to be booked. One will explore the building’s history with old photos, facts and ephemera.

Another will showcase artwork by the autism group which meets at the library.

A third will showcase bestselling books since 1973, and a fourth will display memorabilia relating to the Wombles, who are celebrating 50 years of their first TV appearance.

Councillor Joshua Reynolds, Cabinet member for communities and leisure, said: “Our libraries are at the heart of the community in the Royal Borough, bringing together residents from across our community to places where they are able to benefit from a lot that the council has to offer.

“Maidenhead Library plays an important role in our community, its 50th anniversary gives people of all ages a chance to celebrate the library service and thank all those who make it possible – our dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as our partner parish councils, community groups and trusts.

“Over the decades, the service has broadened in provision and scope.

“Today, libraries still promote literacy, learning and aspiration for all ages and remain the go-to place for books, but they also have a wide digital offer, deliver face-to-face customer services for the council, and provide community spaces that bring people and groups together in a safe space and promote inclusion.

“There is a fantastic range of activities for all ages to celebrate the half-century of Maidenhead Library in style, so make sure you book tickets early.”

Maidenhead Library timeline

1904 – The Borough of Maidenhead opened its first public library service in a building paid for by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Initially it provided a reading room which shortly afterwards was followed by a reference library and book lending library.

1967/8 – Architects developed the design - the partner in charge was Paul Koralek and the job architect, Gareth Wright. The aim was to provide an open, welcoming, non-institutional atmosphere and easy access

1970 – Construction started.

1973 – The Carnegie library was demolished

1973 - The new library was officially opened by Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, himself an architect. A gramophone vinyl record service was introduced which proved popular.

1974 - The Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead was formed, sitting under Berkshire County Council, which took over the running of Maidenhead’s library service.

1992 – the service strengthened its appeal to pre-school children, introducing a ‘train’ to carry books, soft seating and a floor cushion in the shape of a crocodile

1995 – Maidenhead was the first library in the country to install a self-issue terminal for books

1998 – Berkshire County Council was disbanded, and the six Unitary Authorities launched. After over 20 years of being run by the county, Maidenhead’s library service moved to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It was now offering videos and CDs for loan

1999 – The first two public PCs were linked to the internet which demonstrated the service’s ongoing commitment to lifelong learning

2003 – The building was listed with a Grade II designation

2006 – Customers were able to access reference works from their home PCs e.g. the Oxford English Dictionary

2016 onwards - The library began strengthening its help to residents in accessing council services, both in person and online. Services such as applying for Advantage Cards, bus passes, Green Waste subscriptions, council tax enquiries could be accessed through library staff.

All events are free but most need to be booked on the council website or by calling the library on 01628 796969 as spaces are limited.

If you have Womble memorabilia to loan for the exhibition, please email or speak to a member of staff.