Library History

The roots of the Gilbertville Public Library were established in 1876 when the Gilbertville Literary Society wanted to start a free library. With sixty-three dollars in their treasury, the group was offered a room over the office of the Gilbertville Upper Mill. Thus, a library opened in April, 1882, and in February of 1900, one hundred new books were presented to the library by the Gilbert Company.

The library existed in that manner until the Gilbert Company decided to construct a library building in 1911. This was the birth of our present-day Gilbertville Public Library Building... While construction was going on, a group of fifteen men met at the Gilbertville Manufacturing Company in Ware on January 9, 1912. Their purpose was to incorporate the Gilbertville Library Association with a corporate membership of twenty-five people, men or women. In May, Edward H. Gilbert was credited with a fifteen thousand dollar donation to the library.

The architects for the building were E.C. and G.C. Gardner, and the builders were Casper Ranger & Company of Holyoke. The one story building of Indiana limestone was built with a copper roof, and an interior consisting of a public room, a childrens room, and an adult room all finished in quartered oak. A large painting of George H. Gilbert is in place above the fireplace in the adult room. The transoms of the librarys windows are leaded glass designs representing seven publishing houses, namely: Aldine Press in Venice, Houghton Mifflin of Boston, Christopher Plantin of Antwerp, Engelhard Schultis of France, George Wolf of Paris, Scribners of New York, and Harpers. The cathedral style ceiling is finished in hardwood, adding to the unique charm of the building. The Gilbertville Library was dedicated on March 29, 1913, by Association President, Charles A. Ware, who acknowledged the library being given by E.H. Gilbert.

The building today retains most of its original design. The only significant change occurred when a barrier-free entrance was added. This new entryway, completed in 2002, was designed to complement the charm and beauty of the original plan. This space also houses four high speed public internet terminals, while three staff computers are located elsewhere in the library. In addition, a weekly Toddler Time, a monthly book club, and summer reading program, as well as the Bookmobile of Western Massachusetts, and wireless internet access extend the arm of the Gilbertville Library.

This public library is able to exist only with funds from the town, and fund raising efforts by the library Association. In this way, the Gilbertville Public Library is able to serve the good people from all villages of Hardwick and neighboring towns. The library web site is

http://gilbertvillelibrary.home.comcast.net

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