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History

Each library goes back to the 19th century. There were early setbacks. In 1865, the Western Rangitikei Literary Association and the Turakina Literary Association tried unsuccessfully to get grants from the Wellington Provincial Government for libraries.

The Mechanics Institute ran the Taihape Library until 1908 when it was taken over by the Taihape Borough Council and housed in a special wing of the new Taihape Town Hall.

Marton Library had its formal origins from a decision by the Marton Borough Council in September 1883 to adopt the Public Libraries Act 1869 (following a poll in the town), to levy a library rate (of one penny per £ sterling) and to appoint a management committee of eleven including the Mayor and three local clergy. From 1916, the Library was housed in a building whose cost was met by the American Carnegie Foundation, and is now one of the few public libraries in New Zealand still using its Carnegie building. After local government amalgamation in 1989, the Library extended into the adjacent borough chambers.

The Bulls Library, in a building erected in 1917 after fire destroyed the earlier one, commemorates local residents who served in the First World War. It dates from a decision in 1885 to open a public reading room in the town with expenses met by a series of weekly entertainments.