From its modest beginnings 125 years ago in the millinery shop of a mill and farming village to its present incarnation in a new library built in 1995 and doubled in size in 2002 to serve residents of the Town of Hartford, including the Quechee Lakes community, the Library has been integral to community life. For 84 years, the Library was housed in the 450 square feet in a charming brick building on Main Street, and for 40 of those years, Pauline Cole was the librarian. Since that time, the Town of Hartford, population 10,000, has become one of the fastest growing towns in the Upper Valley. It continues to have a village-based library system with libraries in Quechee, Wilder, Hartford Village and West Hartford. Quechee Library has grown to become the largest library with a circulation each year of over 35,000, a sophisticated computer network for library administration and for the public, and a 6000 square foot facility.
Beginning with a $100,000 federal Library Services and Technology Grant in 1994, Quechee Library has been supported by grants, including the Vermont Public Library Incentive Grants, and by the generous contributions of time and funds from scores of supporters who have developed fundraising events and answered appeals. Solar panels were added through a grant from Sunup Foundation. The library has completed three long range plans, “Envisioning Excellence” with the Vermont Department of Libraries.
Typical of the community support the Quechee Library has received are the remarkable gardens begun in 1995 by Theo Alexander, which are now maintained by the Quechee Garden Club. Today, much of the maintenance of the building is done by volunteers. The professional library staff is assisted by other volunteers, including trustees and Friends, in many of the ongoing functions of a busy community center and library.