About the Library
The Chesterfield Public Library supports lifelong enjoyment of reading and learning. The focus of our staff, collections, programs and facilities is to provide a broad range of information services, in multiple formats, which entertain, enlighten, empower, educate and enrich the citizens we serve.
It is the Library’s vision to:
Excel in customer service
Be the patron’s first choice for information
Anticipate and meet changing needs
Assure equitable access to the Library’s resources and services
Provide a bridge to the community
Youth Services Librarian
Ron Scherman Carole Wheeler Linda Skrzyniarz, Secretary
Bruce Potter, Chair Cathryn Harvey, Vice-Chair Gail Fleming, Alternate
Jill Dumont, Treasurer Scott Riddlemoser Edward Cheever, Alternate
There are seven (7) Library Trustees that oversee the annual budget, hire the Library staff and determine Library policies. At least two Trustees are elected by Town residents each year for three (3) year terms. These staggered terms ensure that “institutional memory” is maintained.
There are also three (3) alternates elected annually to serve for one (1) year terms to fill in for any Trustee unable to make a meeting. The Library Trustees and Alternates meet on the third Tuesday of every month at the Chesterfield Public Library in Town Center. The time, place and agenda of all Library Trustee meetings are publicly posted at Town Hall, the Post Office and at the Library a week beforehand.
The public is welcome, and encouraged, to attend our meetings. Minutes of all meetings are publicly posted in a timely fashion on this website and are available at the Library and elsewhere in print form. We look forward to your support and participation in making Chesterfield Public Library an effective public servant.
Monthly Meetings: third Tuesday of the month, 6:30 pm, at the Library. The public is welcome.
Copies of all meeting minutes, including draft minutes of the most recent meeting, are available at the Library for public view.
History of the Chesterfield Library, 1832-2010
The first record of library service in Chesterfield is found in the “Records of the Proprietors of the Philesian Society Library” in March 1832. This document began with the “Articles of Association” combining two libraries, the Chesterfield Social Library and the Library of the Philesian Society. The Association was in effect a corporation, the shares in which should not exceed $2.00.” There followed a page of signatures of 49 men, most of which are also to be found elsewhere on the leading documents of town history. Search of town records also reveal that in the 1880s and 1890s money for the “Literary Fund” was received from the NH State Treasurer. In 1893, the “Chesterfield Factory Association” 1donated 83 books to the formation of a public library.
In 1894 a free public library was established in the town of Chesterfield, with Frederick M. Hamilton, John F. Butler, and Timothy N. Robertson, as trustees. The library was split into the three sections, one to a village, and held in the homes of Mrs. Henry Rice (Center), Mrs. Ellen A. Safford (Spofford), and Mrs. James Ford (West). Mrs. Clara Farr became the West Chesterfield Librarian in 1896 and continued in that capacity for 34 years.
In 1894 there were 458 volumes in the Chesterfield libraries, and the population of the town was approximately 1,000. Today we have 30,000 volumes with a population of about 3.900.
In August of 1939, a new stone library building was opened in Center Chesterfield, funded by Morris Freidsam, and the U.S. Government as part of the WPA. At that time, the home libraries in West Chesterfield and Spofford continued to function, with books being circulated among the three branches.
In 1940 a children’s room was added to the main branch, giving a total space of 1120 square feet.
For many years the NH State Bookmobile circulated new books to all libraries on a rotating basis. The West Chesterfield librarian Avis Gauthier, remembers having ½ hour to pick out 100 books.
The branch libraries gradually closed with the centralization of the school and other services in town; all books were then housed in the Stone Central Library. Over time, the Stone Central Library became too small to house the ever-growing book collection and increased patronage. The idea emerged that a new library should be built to replace the old farmhouse that stood between the Town Hall and the church. This farmhouse was originally owned by the Spaulding family, but was then purchased by the town and burned in a controlled exercise for the fire department. (Today, the cornerstone of the original house is a marker in the children’s garden.)
A significant amount of funding was needed to build the new library so the “Friends of the Chesterfield Public Library” started baking pies to sell at the Corn Roast. Slowly but surely, monies began adding up and planning for a new library began in earnest. The town desired that new library should use the same stone as that used for the Post Office, Town Hall and Old Stone Library but unfortunately that quarry was depleted. The architect however was able to find similar stone in a quarry in New York. These stones were “sold” to townspeople for $8 each as a way to raise additional funding. All purchasers are on the framed picture hanging in the library.
Moving day was a blustery, snowy day. Volunteers had organized all the books into boxes in such a way that they could easily be placed in order onto the new shelves. There was a team of volunteers at the old library packing, a team bringing books over and a team receiving and putting books on shelves.
The objective of the library is to promote and foster the best in education, reading for pleasure and the general and moral betterment of Chesterfield through the use of books.