The building that is now the Richmond Free Library was built in 1897 as a church for the Univeralist Unitarian Congregation. It served as a church until 1956, when the congregation decided to disband and sell the property to Richmond resident Walter A. Griffith, who then offered the property to the Richmond School District. Richmond voters accepted the gift at the 1957 town meeting and passed a $7,000.00 bond to transform the building into a cafeteria and gymnasium. Then, in the mid 1980′s, a new elementary and middle school were constructed, and the premises was no longer needed. The school district deeded the building to the town, and in 1990, voters approved a bond to renovate the building’s first floor for use as a library. The library moved from its previous location on Depot Street to the newly renovated space in 1991. Construction for the second floor and mezzanine began in June 2002 and finished in January 2003. The second floor now includes two youth libraries and a large community space with a grand piano, and the mezzanine has four practice rooms with electric pianos.
Rebecca Mueller is the Library Director, Joan Cleary is the Assistant Librarian, and L.J. Kopf is the Youth Services Librarian. You’ll also find Brendan Buckless, Joan Lajoie, Douglas Barnes, and Wendy DeForest working as library assistants. On our board of trustees are Kristen Hayden-West (Chair), Laurie Dana (Treasurer), Scott Rider (Secretary), Cammy Richelli, and Karen Tufano. Between our adult, young adult, and juvenile collections, we currently house 16,809 books, audiobooks, periodicals, videos and music, with 50,000 circulations annually. Our programs draw more than 15,000 visitors each year, with summer reading programs and summer art classes for children, financial seminars for adults, and nature programs for all (from hands-on exposure to local salamanders to lectures about hummingbirds from around the world). Our spacious new community room is also available to the public and is an often used space for music events, private lessons, birthday parties, and more!