Early in 1902, at the urging of a small group of local women who saw the need for a public library, a project was launched for the establishment of the Greenwich Free library. Greenwich was not without a library through the earlier years. There was a public, though not free, library in Greenwich as early as 1833. It was a modest venture on a very small scale and has left little record of its history. The Greenwich Academy, a private school founded in the late l830's slowly accumulated a library which for a small fee was available to the general public. The Turner house on Main street was purchased, a charter was applied for, trustees were elected, an auxiliary was organized, and nearly $2000 of the $3800 purchase price of the building was raised. By 1939 the library had outgrown its quarters. The Thompson house on Main St. was purchased in 1944 for $5000 and the library moved in on September 1 of that year.
An Endowment Fund was established in 1916 with a donation by I.C. Blandy and it grew over the years providing the impetus for the 1944 Thompson house purchase. In 1965 the library became a member of the Southern Adirondack Library System. 1965 saw the addition of the I.V.H. Gill Historical Room and in 1969 the Friends of the Greenwich Free library was organized. It became increasingly apparent that the library was outgrowing its space and in March of 1972 a lot at the corner of Main and Academy streets was purchased. Construction on the present facility began in late September 1973 and the building was completed and opened to the public on March 18, 1974.
As early as l923 the library rooms were used by the Women's Club for the entertainment of children. Perhaps this marked the beginning of special effort to interest children in the library and to cater to their special needs which we continue to this day.
In 1952 it was written of the library "The history of the Greenwich Free Library showed that the library was made possible by the gifts of many people. Surely, the present generation can and will carry on the work of its predecessors. The library also needs a lively, helpful interest from the many accomplished and charming young and middle aged people who dwell in the area served by the library. The generation which founded and developed the library has passed, or is passing. Young people must take up the burden which, while it involves something of self sacrifice and an altruistic spirit of obligation to one's neighbors, offers interesting experience and the inestimable satisfaction of a good work well done." This is true to this day.
The library is chartered to serve the town of Greenwich which has a population of 4557. The library houses a total of 27,660 items that have circulated 47,124 times during l998.
The library receives funding from Washington County, the Town of Greenwich, the Village of Greenwich and the School District of Greenwich.
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