Terryville Public Library

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Place Category: Libraries and Litchfield CountyPlace Tags: public library

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  • The Terryville Library is a public library serving the Town of Plymouth, which includes the villages of Terryville and Pequabuck.

    Our History
    The beginning of the Terryville Library dates back to 1839, during the Presidency of Martin Van Buren, when thirty citizens of the Town of Plymouth organized a private subscription library. The subscribers to the Terryville Lyceum Library were a roster of the leading citizens of the town: The clockmaker Eli Terry, the local shop owners, John C. Lewis, Sereno Gaylord and William McKee; the Congregational Church Minister, Nathaniel Richardson and the brothers who owned the village store, Philo and John Lewis. The records of the Terryville Lyceum Library show that it flourished for twenty years. Shortly after the Civil War, interest dwindled. In 1891 the record ends. At that time, a group of far-sighted townspeople were determined that Terryville should have a free library. They chose nine men: G.W. Clark, William Duffy, Andrew S. Gaylord, Jonathan Starr, James Murphy, Edgar L. Pond, Stephen Purrington, Thomas Higgins and Richard Baldwin as a board of directors to create a library. Miss Gertrude Ells was appointed librarian at 25 dollars a year and the Terryville Free Public Library was born. Shortly afterward , the Lyceum Library donated all of its books to the new library. Francis Atwater, who wrote The History of Plymouth in 1895″, donated 52 books. The collection was housed in the court room in the town hall. Though, tax supported (the town appropriation in 1908 was $150) the library had no building. Thus when the book collection in that year became too large for the court room, the Terryville Free Public Library moved to a room in the old Main Street School, which stood where the present Veteran’s Memorial is erected. By 1917 the demand for additional classrooms in the Terryville school system forced the library out of its quarters back to the Town Hall courtroom. The need for a library building was now obvious. At a public meeting of the library directors on February 1, 1917, Andrew S. Gaylord offered the present site at 132 Main Street and promised the furnishings for the building. Members of the Ways and Means Committee to spearhead a drive for funds were: Dwight Pond, James J. Murphy, Spencer E. Evans, William H. Eustloe and Frederick A. Scott and the solicitation for public funds began. The records show 1,559 people donated $18,000 in pledges that range from twenty-five cents to a hundred dollars with five dollars being the most popular contribution. In 1922, when the Terryville Public Library opened the door of the new colonial building, the head librarian was still Miss Gertrude Ells, who had as her assistant Mrs. Dorothy Wilcox. Miss Ells was succeeded in 1926 by Miss M. Gertrude Fenn, whose ancestors had been original subscribers of the Lyceum Library. Mrs. Nelly Baldwin was librarian from 1931 to 1938, succeeded by Mrs. Dorothy Wilcox. Mrs. Wilcox retired in 1964 after forty-two years of service and was succeeded by Mrs. John Cox, whose father James Murphy, was a member of the 1895 committee as well as the library building committee. She resigned in 1970 and was succeeded by Georgiana Miloenson who served until 1972. Mrs. Joyce Reid took office in 1972. The book collection in 1922 was roughly five thousand and is now numbered twenty thousand. In 1975 an addition was added to the present library and dedicated on February 22, 1976. This addition provided over 8,000 square feet to the to the original library. Between 1978 and 2006 there were four head librarians; Barbara Brown, Sandra Miranda, Frances Rice and Sharon LaCourse. Lynn White was appointed Director of the Terryville Public Library in January 2007. Portions were adapted from Plymouth, Connecticut 1776-1976 by J. Francis Ryan.

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