Westford Public Library

1717 Vermont Route 128
Westford, VT 05494



Originally, the building the Westford Library currently occupies was the Town Hall, built "as a suitable place for holding town meetings" in 1844 for a total cost of $522.64. By 1895, the building was in need of serious repair, and a total of $936.46 was spent to do so, despite the $700 budget. Renovations at this time probably included the addition of the stage, which is now the Children's room, the closing in of the basement, and the additions of the stained glass windows and the wood paneled walls. At that time, the Town Hall was red, and much shorter than it is now.

The Westford Library was formed in 1895, and was kept in the basement of the Town Hall after completion of the renovations. The library shared space with a cook stove, and, after 1901, with the Town Clerk. Around 1912, a group of Westford women called the Fortnightly Club began looking for a better location for the library, since the basement was damp and crowded. They found a vacant one-room building built in 1885 that had been a former store and post office. The building was purchased for $100 in 1913, and the Town gave $100 in 1914 to move and repair the building. However, it was not until 1919 that the selectmen and the library trustees were able to make the building suitable for library use.

The building was moved (for the third time) to a spot next to the present library, where it stood until 1974. The library was open officially for two hours on Saturdays, and was staffed by now famous librarian Irene Allen. The building was heated by a wood stove, over which children often cooked marshmallows! The small building was plagued by a leaky roof and overcrowding, as the Library held over 3000 books.

The library's current home was established after the old Town Hall was renovated in 1973. The old library was removed to make way for the new Town Offices. In 1974, the library moved into the Town Hall, with librarian Irene Allen remarking "we, the library that is, are now in the old town hall with a good roof over our heads, except for one small leak. The displaced hornets in the top of the old building followed me to our new quarters but in smaller numbers than some years. That's devotion." The Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters donated ornate chairs and velvet benches to furnish the building.

In more recent years, volunteer effort has helped winterize the building, installing storm windows, insulation, and a new door; a community block grant provided wheelchair accessibility with an entrance ramp and an accessible hot water bathroom. The library also received a face lift with a new coat of paint.

The library underwent some major renovations in the past several years, most significantly replacing the (leaking) 100+ year old slate roof funded by the Preservation Trust of Vermont/Freeman Foundation in the Fall of 2003. Other building renovations include enhancing the structural and basement supports and replacing the furnace. The Vermont Public Library Foundation/Freeman Foundation's three year grant, awarded to the library for 2002-2004, afforded us new bookcases for the entire library, as well as additional monies for the collection development and programming. With the help of other private donations the library has also replaced the main room carpet, children's area rug, reading couch, meeting table and chairs, and added coffee tables and lamps. In 2005, all of the lighting fixtures were replaced with antique reproduction fixtures using condensed flourescent light bulbs paid for with the help from a Community Assistant Grant from the Vermont State Department of Buildings and General Services. The public access computer was also replaced with the help of funds from the Westford Committee for Children and Families. Today, the library presents a nice blend between the original style of the old Town Hall, and a new look with some of the 21st century modern luxuries.

In a town with only a few community buildings, the library has been an important community center for persons of all ages and needs. The library's growth over time can only be attributed to the persistence and support of the community. The town appropriation went from $25 in 1895 to over $13,000 in 2002. As the librarian and Board of Trustees enter the next phase in the library's life they are working hard to insure that the Westford Library will continue to be an integral part of the community providing information, resources and opportunities for the Westford community in a comfortable and inviting atmosphere


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