Charles Macintosh Ross purchased the ‘Bon Marche’ business on this site in 1883. In 1924 plans were made to purchase adjoining land and to erect this building. Wellington firm McMillan Bros. won the job at £27,746.
Arthur Robert Allen and Herbert Leslie Hickson drew their design from the ‘Chicagoesque’ style – an American school dominated by Louis Sullivan and John Welborn Root. Sullivan and Root designed buildings that featured larger windows, skylights and lighting in stairwells, to maximise natural light. However, Allen & Hickson also recreated the unique top line of Ross’ original little shop, including the flagpole, onto the top line of this building.
In 1959, the 'Roscos' store became Milne & Choyce, then in 1966 D.I.C., followed by Arthur Barnett in 1987. In 1992 PNCC became owner of both land and buildings, and the building reopened as the new library on 25 May 1996. While its above-verandah façade is largely authentic, its interior was substantially replaced during the upgrade.