Perhaps unexpectedly, there was considerable resistance to the campaign. The fiercest opponent was one Reverend J. Lancaster, vicar of the Church of the Holy Trinity, who financed leaflets to be delivered to homes of the town's poor, claiming that the cost of the rate-financed library would be a burden they could ill afford. He also claimed that a library open to all would harm the moral fibre of Worthing residents by being “conducive to novel reading rather than healthy reading”!
In an echo of today's pandemic worries, fears were also expressed that infectious diseases might be spread by books going from any public library into different homes - prompting suggestions for inventions that might keep books germ-free, such as book holders with tin lids.
Though a public meeting in 1892 voted for Worthing to get a library, its opening was delayed by a devastating outbreak of typhoid which necessarily saw priorities directed elsewhere. Eventually, a very modest public library was opened in an existing building in 1895 – with Robert Charles as honorary librarian.