Birmingham’s Erdington Library has been given Grade 2 listing [English Heritage Building ID: 1405552]. It was partly financed by Andrew Carnegie, designed by John Osborne FRIBA and constructed in 1906-7 by John Barnsley and Sons.

One of the architect’s drawings shows an early intention to include a tower above the present portal on to Orphanage Road, and to have a civic centre, with a series of council offices and swimming baths in the same building. The Library, on Arlington Green, is in the midst of a fine collection of public buildings (Fire Station, Public Baths, College and Banks).

The library was built in red brick, with stone dressings and a slate roof, in an Edwardian Baroque style. The principal front, towards Orphanage Road, has a central, projecting bay of ashlar. At its centre is a generous niche framing the doorway, which is flanked by banded Ionic pillars, supporting an arched canopy with large, triple keystone. At either side are four bays, grouped beneath a sedimental gable with Diocletian window.

Although elements of the interior plan have been changed the building still has the essentials of its original plan, which is still legible, and has been adapted without undue alteration to the essential structure.

The central area has a panelled ceiling and top-lit space and other original features include doors and door furniture, central heating radiators and fire hydrants, hopper windows and moulded window surrounds.

There is more information on the website of British Listed Buildings: