Library History

The Ilsley Public Library has a colorful history that dates back to the 19th Century. We have several timelines to illustrate this history. The first provides a brief glimpse of the major events that have shaped the library over the years. The other timelines provide more detailed information from institutional records, which portrays not only the development of Ilsley Public Library, but also of libraries in general and their relationship to small-town life in America.

Brief Timeline

1848 – Middlebury Reading Association organized. This group of men subscribed to most of the available periodicals of the area. Later known as the Middlebury Lyceum.

1866 – Ladies Library Association formed to establish and maintain a library for their membership 60 women each paid $2.00 in dues and elected Mrs. Abby Beckwith president and Mrs. Sophia Stewart, vice-president.

1870 – Library on the 3rd floor in the Buttolph Block.

1887 – Library moved to the 2nd floor of the present Hubbard Insurance Co.

1911 – Library became public as the Town and Ladies Library Association co-operate.

1924 – Dedication of the present building, a gift of Colonel and Mrs. Silas A. Ilsley.

1966 – Friends of the Library organized Dr. Stephen Freeman was first president.

1972 – The Ladies Library Association transferred complete ownership of the library to the Town.

1975 – First addition (elevator and children’s room).

1988 – Second addition (north side).

1997 – Library’s web site launched.

2002 – Website redesigned.

2003 – Side entrance expanded and circulation and lobby areas significantly renovated.