The Public library was founded in 1830 as a private venture. According to a 1932 report the aim was the "gradual formation of a permanent library of general literature, and the establishment in connection with the library, of a reading room." Before 1843, the establishment of the Antigua Library Society by an act of parliament transformed the library's status to that of a corporation. However, in 1843 its proprietors were ruined when an earthquake not only damaged their private properties, but also partially destroyed the library. This led to the property becoming government owned in 1854. The library was then managed by trustees whose powers were increased in 1871. In 1900, according to the same report, the city board "superseded the trustees and undertook its maintenance and control." In 1907 the City Board was abolished and Ordinance 4 was enacted empowering the Governor to appoint "trustees of the real and personal property of the library, and to make rules for its management. The trustees then regarded the building and contents as trust property. In 1974 a major earthquake again damaged the building and it was judged unsound. Subsequently, in 1975 the library was temporarily moved to a new location upstairs the Silston's library, and its services scaled back to one offered mainly to children. It was again moved to Lolita's building on Market Street in 1978. Here the adult library opened its doors, but there was not enough space to accommodate a Children's Library. This was added one year later, when in 1979 additional space was rented in the same building to house the Children's Department.