I believe this is part of one of the 70 miles of moorland water races built between Joseph Foord between 1747 and 1768. It would have supplied water to Gillamoor, Fadmoor and Kirkbymoorside.
The races remaining in use until the early 20th century.
The reading room was first opened on Tuesday November 21st 1911, funded by Joseph Page and built by Glasweigan-based company Speirs and Company
It fell into disuse around the 1940s but thanks to recent grants has been restored.
The building is now back in regular use by Appleton Film Society and Appleton Book Club amongst others.