THE centenary of Wallasey's Central Library will be celebrated next week with a series of special events to mark the milestone.

The library first opened its doors to the public on September 30, 1911 - one of many around the world helped by American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who provided funding for it to be built.

A specially-commissioned painting of the library and a plaque to commemorate the anniversary is to be unveiled by Mayor of Wirral Cllr Moira McLaughlin.

Councillor Chris Meaden, Wirral cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: "The role Wallasey Central Library plays within the local community is as important now as it was 100 years ago.

"I hope many users of the library, past and present, can join us for the celebrations.

"It promises to be a very special weekend, with events suited to every age group to show just what Wirral’s libraries are all about."

Celebrations will start with a return visit to the library by comic poet John Hegley for a performance this Friday.

On Saturday, there will be a range of activities and events for library-users of all ages starting at 10am. Between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, there will be live music, exhibitions and Edwardian cream teas will be served to visitors.

Winners of the library’s "100 Words" writing competition - which invited people to explain what their local library means to them, will be announced and Mayor McLaughlin will then unveil the painting and plaque.

The original library had been in Earlston House from 1900, next to where the main library building now stands. The then-head librarian, a Mr E A Savage, fought for funding to construct a new, purpose-built library.

Despite having been turned down several times, he eventually secured a donation of £9,000 from Carnegie in 1908 and building work got underway.

Scottish-born Carnegie, who had already funded more than 2,000 public buildings at the time, believed in "helping those who help themselves" and libraries fitted in with those beliefs.

The library was refurbished earlier this year with new windows, revamped exhibition spaces and modernised central heating system.

Tickets for John Hegley’s performance cost £7 and are available from Wallasey, Birkenhead, Bebington and West Kirby central libraries, or can be reserved by telephoning 0151 639 2334.