History of the Killingworth Library
At a meeting in January 1964, a group of about 20 residents voted to start an adult library in a space in the Killingworth Elementary School loaned by the Board of Education. It was to be an organization separate from the school library with its own by-laws, policies, and fund raising projects.
Volunteers built shelves and processed about 1,000 books donated by neighboring libraries and town residents. The school library loaned $25.00 and on opening night, April 16,1964, the hat was passed collecting about $100.
Volunteers, taught library procedure by the school librarian, ran the library. More shelves, more books, more “open” hours and a story hour for young children were added during the next year.
In September 1965, the library moved into 2 upstairs rooms and hall of the newly purchased Town office building. Shelves were built only around the perimeter as the structure would not hold the weight of the books in the middle of the rooms. The collection now contained about 2,600 books.
In January 1968 the library was incorporated, a private corporation offering free library service to the town. On that basis it was formally recognized by the Town of Killingworth and the state of Connecticut. In 1969, the library received $600 from the town. Fund raising projects, such as a very successful annual antiques show, publication of The Birds of Killingworth, and two cookbooks added to the treasury.
In September 1972 the growing Library moved to the building at the Killingworth circle that had at one time housed the Killingworth Fire Department and had been the Central District School previous to that. Extensive renovations were made. Volunteers from organizations in town helped put the books in labeled boxes, move them out second floor windows to the town’s pay-loader, or down the steep stairs to waiting trucks. Metal shelving donated by the Madison Library were installed. The Lion’s Club donated a desk and additional bookcases were built.
As the Library continued to grow, more volunteers were trained and a part-time librarian was hired. In the 1980’s, due to the growth of the Library and the dangerous location on the busy circle, a building committee was formed which looked into possibilities of relocating to larger, safer quarters. In 1986 plans for an addition to the existing little building with the exit placed farther down Rt. 81 were drawn, but it did not receive sufficient backing.
In 1992, the town decided to buy the vacant, former CBT bank building on Rt. 81. The Killingworth Library Assn. contributed $35,000. towards the purchase.
Over several months the Building Committee members visited many libraries around the state that had recently been built or had new additions, to gather information. Nine architectural firms submitted tentative plans of their ideas for the addition to the former bank. Tunney Associates of Killingworth was finally chosen for presenting the most reasonable and appropriate ideas.
Volunteers solicited pledges from Killingworth residents who recognized the need for this facility. The Library Board applied for and received a grant of $350,000 from the State and the Town of Killingworth voted to contribute $200,000.
Groundbreaking took place on November 1994 and construction began. The doors to the new library opened December 1, 1995 while finishing details were being completed. The formal dedication of the Killingworth Library took place April 14, 1996 almost exactly 32 years after the Library originally opened. Many state dignitaries as well as local supporters attended the ribbon cutting ceremonies.