Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Partner: Canaan Town Library

The mission of the Canaan Town Library is “to provide access to organized collections of books, educational and recreational materials in order to promote and stimulate knowledge, self-education and pure enjoyment for all.”    The Canaan Town Library has had a long and illustrious history and, in recent years, has enjoyed prominence as a cherished community resource in the midst of the downtown.     In 1804, the Canaan Social Library was founded. During the 1800s, the library moved from house to house. In 1893, with a Town Meeting appropriation of $25, the library made its home at the Whitney residence on Canaan Street. In 1903, the town voted to spend $100 to prepare the Academy Building on Canaan Street for library use. The library moved to its present home in the Canaan Community Building in 1978. A significant downtown focal point, this building has been home to the Canaan Municipal Court, the Canaan School hot lunch program, the Canaan Players, a private kindergarten, a recreation center, and town offices.  In 2003, fire code violations threatened closure of the building.  A Warrant Article requesting $225,000 for fire code and safety repairs was posted before the March 2004 Town Meeting. The article was approved by 64 percent of the voters.  At the end of the summer in 2005, work covered by the Warrant Article was completed and once the building became safe and met all fire and safety codes, the library trustees were ready to move forward with interior renovations.  Out of consideration for the taxpayers’ burden, an aggressive effort to solicit private donations for this project was undertaken and $350,000.00 was raised.  By September of 2009, the newly renovated downstairs section, housing the library’s non-fiction collection, was finally opened to the public. This phase enabled the beginning of the major phase of the renovation project; removing the stage to allow the creation of a new children’s area and the rest of the complete renovation of the main floor of the Library.  Finally in 2011, the library celebrated its grand re-opening of a spacious, comfortable and very functional newly renovated Canaan Town Library.      Along with access to a 30,000 item collection of books, dvds, audio books and magazines for children and adults, The Canaan Town Library offers: downloadable audio books, ebooks, free internet and wifi access, inter-library loan, reference assistance, photocopying, tax materials, online databases, children’s story hours, adult book groups, summer reading programs, meetinghouse readings, friends of the library and monthly programs.

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