Balatonalmádi is one of the largest and at the same time youngest settlements on the northern shore of Lake Balaton. Although Vörösberény, which is part of the town today, was mentioned in the deed of gift by Saint Steven as a settlement called Szárberény, the name Almádi first appeared in 1493. First, it was regarded as a “settlement in the mountains” and later as a vinicultural municipality. Only in 1869 did it become an independent settlement with a population of 120 residents. Two significant factors played an important role in the evolution and development of the settlement: the prosperous viniculture until the end of the 19th century (the phylloxera disaster), and its spa culture, gaining ground from 1870. In 1874 it became an accredited bathing place and in 1877 there were 8 bathhouses on the shore of Lake Balaton. From 1899 patients are recorded to have been treated with Kneipp water cure and Rickli sun- and airbathing, because of this the settlement has been acknowledged as a spa region since 1904. In 1908 it became a large settlement (population over 5000) and was given the name Balatonalmádi officially. The region's culture and class has been enhanced and accelerated by residents from Veszprém, Budapest or Győr who bought summerhouses in Almádi. It has been recorded as a town since 1989, after the amalgamation with Vörösberény and the earlier annexed Káptalanfüred and Budatava as well.
The first libraries in Balatonalmádi have a connection with its bathing life. In 1884 Almádi Fürdő Co. decided on the establishment of a “library for public use”. Its regulations established daily opening hours, the collection of insurance and membership fees, creation of an alphabetical index and record management on borrowed books. The income of the library and the net profit of a raffle were dedicated to the acquisition of new books. The Almádi Kör (friendship society) founded in 1902, made the decision to construct a “reading room”. The building of the local Olvasó Kör (book club) was completed in 1905, in which 5000 books and 36 periodicals and newspapers were at the readers’ disposal in 1909, according to contemporary press. It employed a librarian, who handled management and put forward proposals for new acquisitions. Anyone was eligible to use the library for a fee of 1 korona during the bathing season. In 1881-82, the Vörösberényi Magyar Olvasókör (Hungarian Book Club Vörösberény) served the public need for books and newspapers in Vörösberény and facilitated community life.
Organised book supply for the residents commenced after World War II. A “people’s library” was established in the old town hall with a salaried librarian in 1949 within the framework of the national movement. Book supply was managed by the Veszprém Regional Library, later the County Library in the form of deposits. For a short period, it functioned as an independent library under the supervision of the Balatonfüred District Library. The “people’s library” moved to a separate room in Petőfi Sándor street with its 3225 books. It became an independent communal (belonging to a civil parish) library when the local council had the gardener’s house of Pannónia Otthon (opposite the railway) changed into a building for library purposes. The operational costs were financed by the Civil Parish Council. In this new building, furnished by the local carpenter ltd., adult and children’s collections were placed in separate rooms. At first Zsuzsa Tiszttartó, then Tünde Dér were appointed librarians.
Between 1964 and 1972 the library functioned as Veszprém District Library, financed by the District Council. Besides serving local residents and holiday-makers, the library’s main responsibility was the professional and methodological control of 53 communal libraries. At first three, later four librarians worked under Mrs Ferenc Balogh’s direction and soon the library had 6245 books and 800 readers. In May 1966 the library moved into 1. Széchenyi promenade (today’s town hall), where an open shelf lending section for adults and children, a periodical/news reading room and an exhibition hall were formed in a 240 m2 area on the ground floor. Two small offices and a storeroom could also fit in the premises. Children’s programmes, exhibitions and quizzes were regularly organised. Literary events held in the Pannónia (later Auróra) restaurant were renowned throughout the county, due to the well-known performers, authors and literary historians who were heard by an audience of 150-200 people on each occasion. The library's assets soon doubled, and - with a membership of over one thousand - it was visited by 100-150 holidaymakers annually. The library published colourful brochures for both adults and children.
After the District Council had been changed into an office, the library’s function as a central library was given back to the County Library in Veszprém. In 1972, it became a communal library again, under Anikó Behring’s (Mrs Holló) management. Regular literary and music events continued to be held, and study circles were formed. The Balaton General Knowledge Quiz was an outstanding event in 1979 organised by the radio for settlements on the shore of the lake. Providing the venue, creating and training the teams were the responsibility of the libraries. Almádi’s five-member team came in second in this prestigious competition. The quiz also raised interest in the settlements past and a study circle of national history, geography and ethnology was formed in the library. The study circle was led first by vicar József Horváth, then by local historian Ferenc Schildmayer.
The earthquake of 1985 put a halt to this development in 1985. The library was evacuated from the life-threatening building. It functioned with the remainder of its assets and under limited conditions in the gym of the kindergarten and a basement room in the Kánya cottage. When it was announced that the Almádi settlement would be given the title of town, the library, working under inimical conditions, was automatically raised to the status of town library. A significant step forward was obtained when the Town Municipality had the ground floor of the building at 37. Bajcsy Zsilinszky (former chemist’s) changed into a library. In the new 198m2 area, separate children and adult sections, a news reading room and better research conditions could be established. Video loans and photocopying were introduced, the first two computers were granted and a number of events were organised. In 2002 the premises-library was amalgamated with the culture house. Their operation, however, continued on in the two different locations.
A long-term solution was found on the 24th January 2003 when the building of the Auróra restaurant was reconstructed for cultural purposes and the amalgamated institution moved into this impressive building. The institution was named Pannónia Kulturális Központ és Könyvtár (Pannonia Culture House and Library). It is situated in a 550 m2 area and is managed by Anna Sáray Mrs Fábián, serving the needs of 9800 residents and holidaymakers along with 5 librarians. Adults and children are provided for on two different floors for 50 hours a week. Regular programmes are organised for children: quizzes, reading competitions and library usage training. A lake-side library has been set up for holidaymakers. Social meetings and events for adults are co-ordinated with other programmes from the culture centre. Information technology improvements have also commenced in the new location: the library assets (78,000 items: books, postcards) have been processed with the help of the HUNTÉKA programme; internet-assisted information circulation has been created for the librarians’ and readers’ use. Four computers are available for members at the library. Five settlements of the Kelet-Balaton subregion (Alsóörs, Balatonfőkajár, Felsőörs, Litér, Szentkiráyszabadja) have been supplied with new books, information and professional help within the framework of the Library Service System since 2008.