The mission of the Windham Public Library is to meet the needs of the whole community by providing a well-rounded and up-to-date collection, offering informational, educational and recreational services to every age group and to encourage a love of reading and learning for all.
The Windham Center Circulating Library was the seed that bloomed into our current Windham Public Library. “A few neighbors living on the Windham Center Road… loaned their books to each other as a winter pastime… when Mrs. Marcia Hanson moved to Windham Center, a short distance away, she placed all books given to her in a closet of her home and started the first library in this locality. Others joined her and the Windham Center Circulating Library Association was formed in 1873 with officers and board of directors.
Although records were destroyed of that early organizational meeting, it is thought that Mrs. Mary Anthonine was the first president and Mrs. Marcia Hanson was the first secretary, treasurer and librarian. It is definitely established that Mrs. Nabbie Gould was the first vice president and that one means of fund raising was by public readings and lectures. After outgrowing the private home, a small building was rented from Mr. Fred S. Hawkes and purchased by the Association in 1907. One record shows money placed in a bank in 1887 and there were earlier funds from book-lending fees and fines which were used without deposit.”(1)
The Windham Center Circulating Library Association, with Mrs. Gladys Jones as Librarian, continued to serve the local residents for many years. As the collection and needs of the community expanded over the years, a Library Building Committee was formed to look into the future of the library. In 1970, the Committee reported that the “very small building at Windham Center… cannot serve our needs. It is not possible to expand this building, therefore, if changes are to be made, a new building must be considered.”(2) As plans were made to build a new, town-funded public library, plans were also made to close the old building. “This library at Windham Center has served the community continuously for approximately one hundred years… [it] closed its doors on December 27, 1971 when all its books were transferred to the new Town Library building. Although not the first library to be founded in this town, it is the oldest in continuing service to its’ people”.(1) In 1972, the Windham Center Circulating Library Association was disbanded, but its legacy continues to serve the community today.
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