While visiting cousins in Vermont I made a stop at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont. As a retired librarian I always stop in to visit libraries along the way. The Fletcher Free Library was founded in 1873 by Mrs. Mary L. Fletcher and her daughter, beginning with $20,000. Half was to be spent on books and half for an endowment. What a wise woman Mrs. Fletcher was to know that a library would need that ongoing support. Originally the library was housed in the City Hall. By 1901 it was outgrowing it space, but that year Andrew Carnegie gave $50,000 and a new library was built and opened in 1904.
Of course time does not stand still for any building. The Carnegie building needed work – and saving by the community. In 1974 it was added to the register of Historic Places, and necessary restoration work was made to the foundation and building. But time continues to march on. A new addition was dedicated in 1981.
The new addition is very beautiful with three stories full of books, CDs DVDs, magazines, audio books, museum passes, and garden tools! All can be checked out. Or you can work on the computers in this serene space.
The original Carnegie building now houses the Children’s Room. In addition there is a Local History room and collection. I like the mermaid flying over the circulation desk. I think it is an apt symbol for the invitation to come and swim in the worlds of story, history, philosophy and with instruction how to do almost anything.
The library even has a cool van to bring books and programs to children where they are.
I enjoyed visiting the Fletcher Free Library very much, and could have settled down with a good book for the afternoon, but time marches on. Cousins were waiting. Besides, I knew I could visit my own Heath Free Public Library when I got home. In fact, I knew Interlibrary Loan books were waiting for me.