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11:43 AM 22nd July 2020

Special Memorial To Be Dedicated To Former Librarian And Historian, Ian Dewhirst MBE

Bradford Council will dedicate a special section of Keighley Library to former reference librarian and renowned local historian, Ian Dewhirst MBE.

A dedicated section of the Local Studies and Archives Library on the first floor of Keighley Library will be named the Ian Dewhirst Memorial Collection.

Ian Dewhirst MBE early in his career
Ian Dewhirst MBE early in his career
Ian Dewhirst began his career in Keighley Library in 1960 and soon became a popular and much respected reference and local studies librarian.

In 1999 he received an MBE for services to local history.

Over his lifetime he collected a growing archive of documents that together comprise a unique and much valued collection of Keighley town and the local area.

Since Ian’s death in January last year, library staff at Keighley Library have been working closely with his family, who have passed his own collections of books and papers to the library for safekeeping in accordance with his wishes.

Library staff have begun the long process of sorting and cataloguing the collection, some of which will be displayed in a dedicated section of the library devoted to his memory.

The memorial area will also include a portrait of Ian donated by local artist Ray Vintner.

Due to on-going safety restrictions, the Ian Dewhirst Memorial Collection will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Bradford District, Cllr Doreen Lee, at a small, private ceremony with library staff, members of Ian’s family, and a small number of invited guests.

A public celebration is being planned for when the library can open again to larger groups of people.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Executive Member for Healthy People and Places at Bradford Council, said:
“Ian was a valued member of the library staff in Keighley, and highly respected as a local historian and by all who knew him in the town.

“He was a true inspiration to all and champion of Keighley Library and especially Local Studies where he would make regular visits for his research.

“Our plans for celebrating his contribution to the work of the Council’s library service and the wider community were interrupted by the pandemic, but now that the library has his full collection in place, we don’t want to wait any longer to commemorate him.

“We hope that this memorial will ensure that future generations will remember Ian and the invaluable work he did within Keighley and the wider community.”