The Wolcott Town Library began in 1828 with a gift of 20 books from Dr. William Andrews Alcott, Superintendent of the Congregational Church School. The library was housed in the church building and supported by church funds. In 1839 when the church burned, all of the volumes were lost and for the next 20 years there was no town library.
In 1860, a new Congregational Church building was opened and a library was begun again in the entrance way of the new church, Preserve Carter gave $100 to start the library that year.
During the Centenary Celebration Meetings of the Wolcott Congregational Church which were held in September of 1873, a visitor, B.G. Northrup who was the Secretary of the State Board of Education, spoke of the importance of library facilities for the townspeople. At this meeting Amos Bronson Alcott, the philosopher, educator and reformer, supported the idea of expanding the library. Mr Alcott, who was a native of Wolcott, offered to donate the works of Concord authors who were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
When the Beecher Memorial Hall was completed in 1914 the library moved from the church to the new building. There the library remained until 1924.
Though the library was always a town library and was used by all the townspeople, its support and direction, until 1920, was given by the church with the help of many private donations.
In 1920 the town appropriated $100 for the project and in 1924 the library became a municipal project and was moved into the Wolcott Town Hall.
The library remained in a room in the Town Hall until 1957 when the renovation of Town Hall was begun. The library was moved into the basement of the town office building, also on the green, and 16 months later when the Town Hall was completed, the library moved upstairs and took over the entire building.
In 1970 the present library was opened at 469 Boundline Road. More than 1,000 Wolcott residents went to the town’s new library to see and hear it formally dedicated.
Alexander Nole, chairman of the building committee, said it was ” an impossible dream come true”, and Samuel L. Molod, associate state librarian and main speaker for the occasion, said that Wolcott recognizes its own rapid growth.
“I think your building committee has a lot of guts to say the time has come to stop thinking of yourselves as a very small town. ” he said.
First Selectman Edward J. Bagley, who cut the ribbon to open the new building, said it represents “a momentous step forward in the life of the town of Wolcott.” He said there had been controversy about the design of the building but he believed it turned out to be a “forward looking structure” that reflected the attitude of the townspeople.
Wolcott Library History Presentation
Many thanks to Florance Goodman and the Wolcott Historical Society for these
Wolcott Library History items: