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The Central Library buildings symbolise the cultural legacy of the city's merchants and form an integral part of the World Heritage site in William Brown Street.
Formerly known as Shaw's Brow, the street was renamed after William Brown whose generosity enabled the building of a new library and museum which opened in 1860.
The Picton Library, Hornby Library and Oak Room were added later.
Apart from the historic buildings, Central library offers the full range of services expected from a modern public library including a reader friendly lending service, a comprehensive reference service and free broadband internet access in the People's Network computer suite.