Thornbury Hygienic Library

The discovery of the spreading of disease via bacteria in the late nineteent century led to concerns about contagion through handling library books. In the early twentieth century, private ‘hygienic libraries’ who sterilised their books in a cupboard with formalin vapour became fashionable. One such library was the Terminus Hygienic Library at 905 High Street Thornbury. It was opened in the early 1930s by Philip Wilkinson Carnaffan. Through newspaper advertising it was promoted as “The modern library with modern books” with a complete list of all authors and a juvenile section. The price of borrowing a book was 3 shillings. In the 1950s, ownership changed to A. S. Franklin with little mention of the ‘hygienic’ library. By 1960 the library had closed. 

Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980
Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974. [Microfiche]. (1974). Melbourne, Australia: Sands & McDougall.
Start 1938 Well Advertisement (1938, January 13) The Northcote Leader, page 3. 
Thornton, Kristen (2018). Hygienic libraries and other Special Collections oddities. Retrieved 29 July 2020 from,
You’ve Read the Old Advertisement (1938, January 20) The Northcote Leader, page 5.