The source of the present library organization is a meeting of 12 men, held in the office of physician William S. Todd on October 16, 1871 to consider ways of developing a library for Ridgefield. The men formed a “Library Club” and each pledged $3 a year to purchase books for their own use. All books were sold at the end of the year, with the proceeds and dues used to purchase new books. In 1878 and 1879, the books were not sold but stored in the attic of the club treasurer, Dr. Daniel L. Adams and became the nucleus of the original library collection.
Mrs. Ebenezer Keeler is credited with persuading the men of the library club to organize a Ridgefield Library Association in 1880. Mrs. Keeler, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Larman W. Abbott were appointed to make arrangements to circulate the library materials, a duty later delegated to the Women’s Committee until 1974. The 1880 seven-page printed catalog of the library association’s 312 books is divided into juvenile, scientific and practical, travels and adventures, fiction, history and biography and miscellaneous sections. Each section lists the books alphabetically by title.
“From Card Catalogs To Bibliomation, Library Grows”, Ridgefield Press (6/19/2003)
Ridgefield’s population in 1880 was 2,028. The library was located in Town Hall and was open for two hours on Wednesday afternoons and two hours on Saturday evenings all year. Cost of a subscription membership was $1 per year, books circulated for two weeks and fines were ten cents per week.
The library had its roots in the attic of Doc Adams’ home on Main St.
Doc Adams’ house is gone and Ballard Park is currently on the site. Here it is as it appears today.
The Ridgefield Library Association formed in 1880, was originally based in the Town Hall on Main St.
The Town Hall burned down in the Fire of 1895 and was rebuilt in 1896. Below is how it appears today.