“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” -Ray Bradbury
Libraries have a long, rich history dating back to a collection of clay tablets found in Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. Aristotle is credited with creating the Great Library of Alexandria, the first public library open to those with the proper scholarly and literary qualifications, and the foundation of libraries as we know them today.
Here in the Northwest Corner, the history of libraries can be first traced to Salisbury, CT and its Scoville Memorial Library. In 1771, a community contribution enabled local blast furnace owner Richard Smith to bring the town 200 books from London. From here, with generous gifts from residents such as Caleb Bingham and Harriet Church, the original collection grew. In 1810, a town meeting voted to approve $100 to purchase more books, making this the first publicly supported free town library in the United States.
In the early 1890’s, Salisbury native Jonathan Scoville left the town $12,000 to fund a library building. With other contributions from the Scoville family, construction ensued. Built from stone quarried near Lion’s Head Road, the original building, housing a 15th-Century stone carving sent by Salisbury Cathedral in England, still intact, and clock tower, which continues to chime the quarter hours with four, eight, twelve, and sixteen notes from Parsifal, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed to serve not only as a library with a reading room, children’s section, and reference center, but a community center with an auditorium and kitchen, the original building outgrew its needs and an addition was added in 1981.
Today the Scoville Memorial Library, more than lives up to the expectations of its curators. Its holdings of more than 35,000 items range in scope from its original book collection to the latest DVD offerings and an extensive archive of the town’s history.
What is most relevant is that like it’s contemporaries, the Hotchkiss Library in Sharon, CT, The David M. Hunt Library in Falls Village, CT, The Douglas Library in North Canaan, CT, The NorthEast-Millerton Library in Millerton, NY and the Amenia Free Library in Amenia, NY, this library has become key in hosting a broad scope of community events and activities, most of which are free or at minimal cost, and are geared to everyone from young children to seniors. Examples include Meditation Classes, Book Groups, Children’s Activities, Forums, Meet-the-Author Readings, movie showings, and specialized events such as this weekend’s
October 28, 2017: Fan-Fiction Workshop at the Scoville Memorial Library
This weekend, the Scoville Library host a Fan-Fiction Workshop. Led by the daughter of Viv LaBerge, Elyse Harney Real Estate’s Financial Administrator, Emily Abbott and her classmate, Abby Adam are both students in the HVRHS Class of 2018. The workshop takes place on October 28th, from 11:00am-1:00pm.
For more information about events at and/or sponsored by The Scoville Memorial Library or other area libraries, please visit the websites highlighted above.