Local History

Southbury Historical Society

624 South Britain Road
Southbury, CT 06488
203-405-3124
Hours
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Sunday: By Appointment

South Britain Library

203-405-3124

Open to the public Tuesday evenings, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The books and resources of the South Britain Library can be found catalogued in the Southbury Public Library catalog. The South Britain Library welcomes borrowing requests, which may be made by phone.

 

How We Got to Where We Are

A Brief History

The earliest reference of a library in Southbury is a diary entry by David Hicock on November 26, 1776, providing evidence that South Britain had a library in the 18th century, however, other reports indicate the library was in private homes and the books moved periodically from house to house.

By the late 1800s, the library books had been moved to Munson’s Hall, a social hall behind what was, until the late 20th century, the South Britain Post Office.

In 1891, a diary entry said that Abbie Mitchell earned 50 cents for her two-hour stint as librarian. In 1904, Axel Wilson built the 475-square-foot South Britain Library for $746 on land donated by the Mitchell family at South Britain Road and what is now Library Road.

Until 1969, the library was a private association, not a town function. That year, the town built a 7,100-square-foot library on Main Street South.

Southbury grew fast in the next decade, with the construction of Heritage Village. Twelve years after the library opened its size was more than doubled – to approximately 16,000 square feet.

Twenty-four years after that addition the size of the library was doubled again because since 1981, the population of Southbury had increased 31% and library use has increased 95%.

Planning for the current library started in March 1998. A consultant made a long range plan in 1999 and updated it in 2002. In April of that year, the architectural firm of Tuthill & Wells was picked and the Selectmen and Board of Finance approved the project. In a referendum in June 2002 voters approved spending more than $7 million on the new library. It passed by a two-to-one margin. Also that year, the town bought the six-acre Polman property on the northeast corner of Poverty and Old Field Roads.

The State of Connecticut contributed $500,000 towards construction. A fund-raising campaign was launched which included the selling of commemorative bricks for the front walkway. The 2004 Club was created for those who pledged $2,004. Room naming opportunities were offered to those who pledged large monetary donations. Additional support was provided by the Friends of the Southbury Public Library and the Junior Friends of the Library.

The groundbreaking was March 2004. A few months later, construction of the building began and was completed in 2006. By May of that year the library was open for business at 100 Poverty Road.

In May 2011, the library’s fifth anniversary was celebrated with an all-day open house of special events.