The 150-Year History of the Danbury Public Library
Everyone is invited to the family party of the year to celebrate the Danbury Public Library's 150th Anniversary. It's happening on Wednesday, June 5 from 5 until 7 PM at the Library on Main Street in Danbury.
They are pulling out all the stops for this party, because, well, it isn't everyday you turn 150 years old.
There will be food trucks from Halal Guys, Cinnamon Churros, Rice and Beans CT, Fork in the Road and Mama’s Empanadas, live music by the band RSVP, and Vanilla Swirl the Clown will be walking around entertaining kids with magic tricks, balloons and face painting.
Of course, the Friends of the Danbury Library will be hosting a special mini-book sale, and there will also be plenty of arts and crafts.
How Did We Get Here (150 Years in the Making)
The library was first incorporated in 1869, and according to Friends of the Library, moved to a new building in 1878. By the time their Centennial Anniversary came around in 1969, the Danbury Library was loaning out more than 99,000 books a year to over 14,000 borrowers. By the early 1970's the library was a very busy place with some 25,784 borrowers, which was actually half of the entire population of Danbury at that time.
A New Building
In early 1972, a group of volunteers realized the need for a new bigger building to keep up with the larger demand from local residents. The next year, a new building was dedicated and the citizens of Danbury continued to provide support for the library after its opening. The Friends of the Danbury Library started to organize during 1974 and 1975, and officially began their service in 1976.
The Big Fire
On the night of February 27, 1996, the Danbury Fire Department responded to a major fire at the library. Damage was substantial. The entire first floor was destroyed, and the rest of the building suffered significant damage. The entire print collection on the first floor was ruined, and many of the library's computers were ruined.. Fortunately, the irreplaceable collection in the local history room was saved and only suffered minor smoke damage.
Once again the Friends of the Library were instrumental in organizing community support, and the library was able to reopen in March of 1996, with temporary quarters in the Galleria Building on Main Street. The Library building was rebuilt and officially re-opened on September 7, 1996.
In 1997, the Library's Technology Center opened, as the library expanded and took over the space that once was home to the Union Savings Bank.
By 2010, the Friends of the Danbury Library were now raising over $30,000 just from their annual October book sales, and now their current profit from Library sponsored community events is more then $75,000.
Today the library annually welcomes more than 500,000 visitors through its doors and circulates print and non-print collections that total more than 125,000 items in more than 20 languages. Now, the Friends of the Danbury Library, Inc. are in the process of setting up a sensory room especially for children with special needs. The room will be the first of its kind in a Connecticut library.
If you would like to become a Friend of the Danbury Library, just click on the link right below and fill out the form: