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Scoville Memorial Library

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Scoville Memorial Library

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  • November 2012
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Caroline Sullivan

U.S History; B Block

In Plain Sight

The Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Connecticut is a very old and historically significant town. Incorporated in 1741, It became important during the revolutionary war for its supply of iron found in local ores. In 1771, not long after being founded, the residents of Salisbury were presented with an opportunity. A man from London named Richard Smith said that he would bring 200 books to the town if an adequate number of citizens helped to pay for them. 39 citizens contributed, and the collection of books was kept in the town hall for the communities use. In the introduction to the new library’s regulations, these contributors stated “Whereas, we the subscribers looking upon it consistent with our duty to promote and encourage every rational Plan that may be proposed for the Encouragement of true religion; for the Promoting of Virtue, Education, and Learning; for the Discouragement of Vice and Immorality…a Library of Books on Divinity, Philosophy, and History, &c. may be conducive to bring to pass the above laudable design…”

This was the beginning of a long-followed Salisbury tradition. in 1827, it was voted that any citizen could have access to the library if they paid a fee of $3.34 per year. In the time that followed, the Salisbury Library grew from donations and purchases made by the town. In a letter, town citizen George W. Holly recalled the way it was run, writing "and four times a year the library was opened, interested parties took their seats on wooden benches while the librarian called off the books, beginning with the letter A. One hearing announced a book he wanted [would call], 'I’ll have it’ and the volume was laid aside to be entered in a record book."

At one point in the mid-late 1800’s, the library faded away and the books were stored away. However, in the 1880’s a group of people created the Salisbury Library Association. They brought the books to be put back in the...

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