Armidaleís Literary Institute or School of Arts as it was first known, was formed following a meeting held on 18 July 1859. The Literary Institute provided a place for its members to read current publications and pass the time with a game of chess or backgammon. In February 1863 the foundation stone of their new building was dedicated and following subsequent alterations, eventually provided a large library, reading room, billiard, social and meeting rooms for its members. Following a brief period, the School of Arts was transferred to the Municipal Council in 1871, but by 1895, Council relinquished control. In 1912, the named changed to the Armidale Literary Institute and continued as a place of reading, entertainment and functions. Following Councilís approval of the Library Act of 1939, the Institute served as the public library until the present library opened in 1955.