About the Library

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Photo of the Reading Public Library from year 1899
Reading Library was created in a shoe store about 1820. The store burned in 1845. In 1869, the Reading Library Association was formed. Townspeople bought shares and in this way funded the library. The collection may have been housed in a store or in someone's home.

In 1899, the Gilbert A. Davis library building was completed. Gilbert Davis was a local attorney who paid for the library's construction. His tiny law office was on Main Street in Felchville Village. In the early 1950s, the law office served as a local clubhouse and as a meetingplace for the 4-H Club. The structure was torn down in the late 1950s. Gilbert Davis also wrote a two-volume history of the town.

The first librarian in the new library building was Minnie Fay. She had been a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. She was librarian from 1899 to 1939, 40 years. She also occasionally taught Sunday-school in her home, and for fifty years wrote the Felchville column for the Vermont Standard newspaper. Minnie was a spinster and an ardent teetotaler. She helped form the Blue Ribbon Club, a temperance society.

The children's room was added to the library in the 1980s. The bathroom was added in October 2006. Up to that time, Reading Public Library may have been the only library in the country to offer WiFi access but no toilet.

The library serves primarily the town of Reading, Vermont, population 707. Reading is made up of 3 villages: Felchville, or Downtown, where the library is located; South Reading, which is actually in the north-western part of the town; and Hammondsville. A fourth village, Reading Center, or The Center of the Town, died out about 1840. There is scarcely a trace of it left.

Read the Reading Public Library's Dedication Ceremony from 1899

Read the Gilbert Davis Deed of Trust

View the Historical Photo Album

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