Haslingden library is housed in a building opened in 1860, as a Mechanics Institute. In addition to reading material, the Institute provided day and evening classes. During the cotton famine of the 1860's rooms were used as day centres for unemployed textile operatives. The building was formally opened as a free library on November 4th 1905, by Thomas Bewley Hamilton, ex mayor of Haslingden. In 1974 administration of the library changed from Haslingden borough council, to Lancashire county council. A major fire on the 14th January 2000 resulted in an extensive refurbishment to the lecture/exhibition room, lending, reference and junior departments.