Thursday, January 12, 2012

What I see from my window... the library!

Union Village Academy housed the first "public" library in Greenwich. Well, around 1833, for a small fee the public could use the school's library. By the 1870s the Academy had morphed into Greenwich High School & Union Village had morphed in to the village of Greenwich (1867). The school still had the only library in town (or village), and would until 1902.

In May 1902, the Greenwich Free Library opened on Main Street with a few hundred books and a $1,500 mortgage. A group of ladies, known as the Women's Club, had decided that a separate public library was needed, & spent much of the next decade raising money.

Greenwich Free Library 139 Main Street

Fundraising seem to be the main activity. In 1902 there was a clam bake, a garden tea, a card party & countless rummage sales. In 1905 the townspeople voted down a $500 annual allowance for the library, so more card parties & rummage sales were planned. Even a benefit baseball game occurred.

1911 saw $300 in the school budget allotted to the library. By 1951 the amount had increased 500% to $1,500. To this day, a portion of the school budget goes to the library.

In the early days of the library circulation was around 1,500 per year. By the Great Depression it had risen to around 2,600, an increase of about 173%.

The following is quoted from a "folder" (c. 1938) that may have been circulated to folks who might not be sampling all that the library has to offer. The Picture" mentioned is the photograph is used above.

Do you know what your library looks like, where it is located?

Lest there be those who do not know how the Greenwich Free Library looks, a picture of the building is attached to this little folder.

A well worn path leads close to the big window where books are always displayed. Have you added your footprints to this path?

Those who do not take advantage of what the library has to offer are being deprived of a great deal of pleasure and knowledge.

New novels, latest magazines, books of travel, history etc. may be had just for the asking.
There is a pleasant reading room; cool in summertime, warm in winter. Come in and use you Free Public Library.

The circulation in 1937 was 21,961. How many of these did you read? Every resident of Greenwich is entitled to borrow books. If you are a borrower, ask your neighbor to become a borrower, too.

The library is supported by state aid, local tax, gifts of money and by members of the Library Association who pay one dollar a year each.

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested" Bacon

The library has a new website... check it out!

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