NPL History

The Norwich Public Library Association was organized by a handful of dedicated Norwich citizens on December 14, 1880. The initial collection of 256 volumes was housed in the Congregational Church Vestry. By 1888 the collection had grown to 1000 volumes and was moved to the Norwich Academy building. Fire destroyed the Academy building in 1897 and 20% of the collection was lost. The remaining books were moved to the home of James Hutchinson on Main Street while plans were developed for a permanent home for the collection. Thomas & Lizzie Hazen donated the lot.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new library was held on September 11, 1901 and the building dedicated in 1902. Fees and donations sustained the Library until the Town of Norwich offered its support of $350 in 1922 with an annual grant. In 1971, the Library received a gift of $1,000 from the Town, which allowed library hours to be expanded to two days per week and to increase the volumes to over 6,000. In 1975, the Bicentennial Wing of the Library was dedicated and built, thanks to federal assistance, local gifts, and pledges totaling over $65,000.

The most recent renovation, completed in July 1999, more than doubled the square footage. The Library was automated in 2000. Presently, we are open five to six days a week for a total of 44.5 hours. The Library maintains a collection of over 35,000 volumes, including books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, and an expanding collection of digital resources. With over 3500 registered borrowers, we offer a Community Room meeting space for local groups, exhibit space for artists, Internet access, and free wireless access.

Join us as we build upon a tradition of excellent service and a first-rate collection while meeting the challenges and promises of the future.

We look forward to seeing you at the Library!

With appreciation to Jean Lawe