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"The main object of a free library is not only in satisfying a thirst for knowledge, but to ‘create’ a thirst where it is now absent"

Sir James Reckitt

Once Upon a Time

The James Reckitt Library Trust was established as an independent charitable trust in 1892 by the pioneering industrialist and Quaker philanthropist, Sir James Reckitt (1833-1924)

Libraries were amongst his many philanthropic passions and he campaigned tirelessly for their establishment by the City Corporation. When Sir James’s efforts were initially rebuffed, he built at his own cost the first free public library in the city – the James Reckitt Library in East Hull.

The opening of the Western Library in 1895, the first to be established from the public purse, was a direct result of his campaigning efforts.

In 2008 the management of the endowment was made the responsibility of a newly-constituted charitable trust regulated by the Charity Commission. Its purposes were extended to include the support of all public libraries in Kingston upon Hull. The Board of Trustees now consists of five trustees, including two nominated by Hull City Council.