Travel Tips: libraries are a great stop: If it’s raining out they are a great place to hang out; bring your own PC and access the Internet without having to buy anything; there’s always a rest room; and librarians are always very helpful in providing information.
In 1849, New Hampshire was the first state to enact legislation that authorized the establishment of public libraries.The Bethlehem, NH library is located in the town building. It contains 13,308 volumes, circulates 13,356 items per year and serves 2,407 residents.
The Conway, NH Public Library started as the Conway Village Library Association. The Conway Woman's Club and interested citizens created this Association in 1895, providing library services to the community until the current building was dedicated on June 13, 1901.
The Dover, NH public library did not come into existence until 1883, but the city has a long history of private and subscription libraries.
The Dublin, NH library was shrouded in fog when we visited as was the town of Dublin. The library is open limited hours, usually 4 to 8 p.m. and closed on Friday, the day we visited. Everything else in town was closed on Friday, including the town offices.
The Goffston, NH library contains 27,495 volumes and circulates 59,706 items per year. It serves a population of 17,784 residents.
The Hollis, NH Free Social Library serves the Town of Hollis which was chartered 1799. It is one of the oldest public libraries in the country.
The Jackson, NH Public Library houses a collection of 8,736 volumes. The library circulates 12,354 items per year and serves a population of 872 residents.
The Laconia, NH library was dedicated in 1903. Napoleon Bonaparte Gale, a local banker died in 1894 and left the bulk of his fortune to the City of Laconia for a park and a public library building. The Gale Memorial Building houses the Laconia Public Library and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The main library building is an example of Romanesque Revival style, which emphasizes weight and mass through rock-faced masonry, heavy arches, broad roofs.
The Littleton, NH public library is a Carnegie Library. In 1902, Littleton received a $15,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation. Funded by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929; 1,689 in the U.S. alone.
The Meredith, NH public library opened its doors in 1882 with a collection of 800 books purchased from a former resident. In 1899, Benjamin M. Smith of Beverly, MA offered to build a public library as a memorial to his parents, both of whom died in Meredith. If the town agreed to purchase the land adjacent to the Baptist Church, he would pay to have a library built on that spot for not less than $10,000. The town agreed and purchased the land.
The William W. Wadleigh Memorial Library, Milford, NH contains 66,213 volumes. The library circulates 189,768 items per year and serves a population of 14,860 residents.
The Whipple Free Library, New Boston, NH public library is named for one of New Boston's prominent citizens, J.R. Whipple. After recovering from a failed Boston grocery venture, he become one of the country's leading hotelmen and a millionaire. In 1887, Whipple constructed a new building and reserved a floor for a library collection of 1800 books with chairs and a table for those who wished to read and relax. The library was donated to the town of New Boston in 1913 by Whipple's family. By 1923 ,the library was reported cramped and moved to the Wason Memorial Building.
The old library is still standing, but no longer in use. In 2010, a new library opened. (Note the new Apple desktop PCs and very comfortable reading area.)
In 1833, the town of Peterborough, NH became the site of the first public library in the U.S. It was not the first library for public use as such libraries existed before 1833. Instead, its importance is that it was created on the principle that: the public library, like the public school, deserved maintenance by public taxation and should be owned and managed by the people of the community – not dependent on private generosity.
The Wentworth Library, Sandwich, NH is housed in a stone building, which was closed on the day we visited. The library’s collection contains 15,500 volumes; it circulates 19,319 items annually and serves 1,359 residents.
The Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library, Wilton, NH dedicated in 1908 is named after the Hon. David A. Gregg of Nashua, NH, who was a summer resident of Wilton. The building is an example of the “Neo-Classic” style prevalent among monumental architecture between 1900 to 1920. Gregg sponsored the entire cost of the land and building (estimated at over $100,000). According to several newspaper accounts, it was considered “one of the finest library buildings in the state.”
NOTE: The information on library statistics is from lib-web-cats (library web sites and catalogs) an online directory of libraries throughout the world.