Address:
905 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226
860-465-3079

Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00-6:00
Tuesday, Thursday: 12:00-8:00
Saturday: 10:00-2:00
Sunday: Closed

Willimantic Public Library frog

Address:
905 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226

Library History


The Willimantic Library Association began in 1853 from the efforts of a local “ladies aid society”, the Bee Hive Circle, which made and sold handcrafted items, raising the funds to purchase books and other reading materials for circulation to the community with the objective “to provide opportunity and encouragement for children, young people and adults to educate themselves continually.” A fire in 1869 destroyed the original library. In 1871 the Burough of Willimantic paid the Association $125.00 and changed the name to the Willimantic Public Library, whose service and name continues to this day, over 150 years later. The Windham court house (now the Windham Town Hall) was completed in 1896 and included space for the public library, with its own entrance in the rear of the court house.

For 10 years, books for children were located in a historic building at 191 Prospect Street. The house was built in 1889 by Amos Morris Hathaway, who worked for the Willimantic Linen Company. In 1957, his daughters Kate and Marion donated the house to serve as a children’s library for the town. It was named the Taylor-Hathaway Memorial Library, in honor of Dr. Daniel Taylor, Kate’s late husband, and her brother Edgar Hathaway, who was an office manager at the American Thread Company.

After many years of inadequate housing, the present library at 905 Main Street was completed and occupied in 1967. The Adult Services Department is on the first floor and the Youth Services Department is on the second floor.

Nearly 50 years after its construction, the library underwent a renovation from the fall of 2016 to the spring of 2017. The improvements included asbestos remediation and an updating of the heating and cooling system. A community room and teen room were added, as well as a sink and cabinets in the program room for better storage and cleanup after programs. New carpet, ceiling tiles, paint, and lighting were installed throughout the rest of the library.

The library façade has lettering naming it as the “Mary Lou DeVivo Memorial Building.” This was done to recognize Mary Lou DeVivo, who passed away in 2015, for her many years of community involvement, including supporting education and literacy. The library’s front mural was painted by local artist Ben Keller, who has painted a number of other murals in town. It was completed in August 2019 and makes the Willimantic Public Library part of the vibrant arts scene on Main Street.

The library expanded outside its walls with a satellite library in the Windham Heights Learning Center. It has a selection of books & DVDs for all ages. We also offer children’s programs there, and the library serves as a resource for the EASTCONN After School Program held in the center.

During the 2020 pandemic, the library added a new Wi-Fi antenna on the front of the building that could reach significantly further down Main St. Café tables were installed on the sidewalk outside for people to use. The wireless network is free, and requires no password to access it.

A makerspace was opened in December 2021. It contains supplies and tools for sewing, jewelry making, quilling, metal stamping, sewing, and more. You can bring your own materials and use our tools, or use some of our supplies along with whatever you bring. It also includes building, coding, and electronics learning items.  You can find more info about what we have and when it is open on our makerspace page.

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