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Library Visit: Essex Library Association

One of the things I’ve missed the most during this pandemic is going to the library. Earlier this week, it hit me that other than the months I was in Marine Corps boot camp, this is the longest I’ve gone without setting foot inside of a library in my life.

There was also a moment of disappointment when I thought I wouldn’t have a library visit to share with you this month but — hurrah! — my procrastination has paid off. I had photos tucked away on my phone from a visit to the Essex Library in Essex, Connecticut from earlier this year. I spent a few hours working there one Saturday afternoon while my wife had business in town.

The Essex Library facing West Avenue on a rare snowy day. We didn’t get much snow along the Connecticut shoreline this year.
The new library entrance is off a side street, Grove Street.
Although the Essex Library is a public library and library cards are free to residents of Essex, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton, it’s also an association. According to the website, it “was granted 501 (c)(3) status by the IRS in 1970, and functions as an independent non-profit organization.” [source] The fee to join in 1889 was $1. As of today, membership starts at $35.
Upon walking into the library, the circulation desk is straight ahead. To the left is a comfortable lobby and to the right is a lovely mural leading into the children’s section. This photo was taken with the iPhone 11’s wide angle option. Although it creates some distortion in the photo, I do appreciate how it captures a wider area.
Comfy seating in the lobby with plenty of natural light.
Public computers — something I rarely get a photo of because I try to avoid taking pictures of patrons and computers are always in use at public libraries. However, when it snows along the Connecticut shoreline, people tend to stay home. Roads aren’t salted here and with all the hilly, curvy two lane roads, it is usually best to stay home. (A reality that’s still a struggle for my Midwestern-grown mind to fully comprehend).
A view from the other side of the circulation desk, looking back toward the front doors.
Work tables and natural light. Isn’t that window fantastic?
A vinyl listening station.
The periodicals section and another wonderful window.
The library globe.
Another view from the periodicals section. DVDs to the right. Notice the gold picture frames on the back wall to the right? The next photo is a close-up.
These are paintings of the three ships that Captain Joseph Tucker commanded. When Tucker died in 1897, he left these to the library along with $5,000 (adjusted for inflation that would be $155,490.96 today), which allowed the library to build its first permanent home. Prior to that it was housed in rooms above a store on the town square.
In the stacks.
Natural light in the stacks. The architects did a superb job with windows. Notice the audiobooks along the back wall.
Cather on the shelf.
I spent my time in this private study room. There are two such rooms flanking what looks like the original front door.
My work spread.
The view from my work space.
The mural-lined hallway leading into the children’s section. Notice the birds on the ceiling.
Thanks for checking out the Essex Library with me!

Essex Public Library
33 West Ave
Essex, CT 06426
Website: https://www.youressexlibrary.org/

Date visited: January 18, 2020

If you’re in the area or passing through, Essex is a great village to check out. In addition to the library, there’s The Griswold Inn, which has been in operation since 1776 (dining reservations usually needed and they have an excellent gift shop right across the street), the Connecticut River Museum, and so many other neat historic and natural sights to see.


Send me on a mission!

Is there a Connecticut or New England library you’d like me to visit? Let me know! I’ll do my best to make it there and report back here.

To see a list of the libraries on this blog, click here.


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Categories: Library

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2 replies

  1. I think this is wonderful – what an incredible discovery! Also nearby, – the Florence Griswold Museum – it’s amazing and has a restaurant on the river – you can eat outside and see these incredible paintings of American Impressionist art!
    Saybrook Point Inn and Spa is a great place to have lunch or dinner and maybe spend the night!

    • Hi Brenda, I’ve enjoyed the Florence Griswold Museum but haven’t tried their restaurant yet. Thanks for the recommendation! Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point is one of my favorite restaurants on the shoreline. Love the view of the harbor and just thinking about their burgers is making my mouth water. And I 💜 Angela in spa services. Looking forward to going back when the coast is clear.

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