The library was opened on 1 January 1916 by A. W. Smale, Chairman of the Dartford Urban District Council, and W. A. Ward, the Chairman of the Library Committee. Its first browsers were soldiers in World War I who were staying nearby in military hospitals, recovering from wounds received while serving in the trenches. Dartford Central Library was constructed with the aid of a grant from the philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. It was designed by Thomas E. Tiffin AMICE, the then-Dartford Urban District Council Surveyor, and built in Bath by Messrs H. Friday and Sons and Ling, using Portland and York stone.
In 1937 the library was expanded over what was once the Dartford tin works. During the Second World War its cupola dome served as an air raid watchpost. Today, Dartford Library is open weekdays from 08:30 to 18:00, except Thursday when it is open until 20:00, and Saturdays 09:00 to 17:00. It is run by Kent County Council.
The library is reportedly haunted and was featured in the popular paranormal investigation series, Most Haunted. Employees and visitors have reported being touched without explanation, senses of being watched, footsteps, strong quaint scents and have witnessed books falling off shelves in unexplained fashion despite being securely on the bookcase. Stories of paranormal activity have been dismissed by local historian Christoph Bull, however.
The most haunted team hears some whining or crying noises in the library which was the voice of Kathleen the daughter of the librarian who also worked there .
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