Library Visit: Guilford Free Library, CT


I visited the Guilford Free Library in early December 2011.  It was a weekday afternoon and the librarians were all busy with patrons, so I didn’t talk to anyone, but the place has a very friendly and open vibe.

Guilford Free Library
67 Park Street
Guilford, CT 06437

Opened: January 23, 1934
Initial holdings: 5,414 volumes
Square feet: 4,500
Current holdings: 120,000 items
Current square feet: 34,000

According to the library website, the town of Guilford has had some form of a library since 1737. Apparently those earlier libraries were mainly religious in nature and weren’t free and open to all. In 1926 the Guilford Library Association “began the long process of establishing a free public library, professionally staffed and available to all.” The result was the building pictured above, which was completed in 1933. Since then there have been two major structural additions: one completed in 1977 and the most recent in 2008.

The original building is still in use as the Edith B. Nettleton Historical Room. Edith Nettleton was the library’s first librarian. She served the library for 44 years until her retirement in 1978. During her retirement, she continues to volunteer in the historical room. Click here for an article about the celebration of her 100th birthday in 2008. I came across a notice in her church’s bulletin from July 2011 celebrating her 103rd birthday!

Update: Edith passed away in January 2014. The library’s website has a page in her honor.


The interior of the historical room is what I imagined the inside of a historic New England library ‘should’ look like–clean lines, colonial furniture, hardwood floors, and white walls. Of course, a card catalog is a must.
Notice the fireplace. There’s another one on the other side of the room behind the librarian’s desk in the prior photo.
A view onto the village green.
Looking from the historical room into the periodicals room.
Looking from the periodicals room into the historical room.
I’ve never seen a newspaper “rack” like this and really like it for its user friendliness.
Reading area in the periodicals room.
In the teen section. I’ve seen more libraries putting up signs like this in their kids/teen area.
The teen section actually has a teen feel to it–there are a few booths in the section and lots of games, as well as function desk chairs and tables.
In the “adult” section on the 2nd floor.
Looking toward the reference desk, 2nd floor.
The circulation desk.
I thought this staff recommendations display was brilliant!
Sitting area between the front door and circulation desk. Note the piano.


I hope people take advantage of these piano times!
I love Curious George.


Great endcap design.


I’m not a fan of The Great Gatsby, but I do like cats, so perhaps I’ll try The Great Catsby.


“Melissa Jones Kindergarten thanks our veterans.”


Computers and book display in the children’s’ section.
View of how far back the new addition stretches.


A view of the entire library from across the street.


  1. What a beautiful library! There's an awful lot of glass and steel in the library where I work, and I miss the feel of the comfy wood-furniture-filled library. And that staff pics display using Read posters is terrific!

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