Library Stop: Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, Old Lyme, CT

Yesterday I picked up items on hold at the public library in Old Lyme, Connecticut. I’m happy to introduce you to the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. It was built in 1898 and has had some additions over the years. There’s currently a substantial project under way.

Facade from a slight angle Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

Phoebe Griffin Noyes was born in 1797 and died in 1875. She was a highly educated woman, a gifted artist, and educator. There’s a portrait of Phoebe inside the library, which is currently closed, but I look forward to seeing it when the library re-opens. The library celebrates Phoebe’s birthday every year (February 20th), so perhaps by then this pandemic will be over and the community can come together to celebrate. Read more about Phoebe on the library’s website, HERE.

Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Front View from Street

This was my first visit to this library, which is about a half hour drive from my home. Above is a photo of the library from the street. The big white sign in front is a construction sign, which I’ve noticed in front of every library renovation I’ve come across here in Connecticut. To the right, you can see how far the new addition extends. There’s a sizeable parking lot behind the library.

1898 Facade Detail of Original Grand Entrance of Under construction Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

Cornice and quoin detail. Quion is the architectural term for the corner of a building that has this interlocking stone pattern (some are structural, others are decorative).

Under construction Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

The library is in the midst of a $4 million Renewal Project. You can checkout the new floor plan in the library’s Annual Report HERE.

Under construction Roof Line Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

Photo of the new roofline. The nod to a colonnade and the conical roof are interesting details. I’ve visited college campus in the last couple years that have renovated some of their common spaces to include a nod to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. I wonder if this is the case here.

View from the rear with art sculpture Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

A view from the back of the library looking toward the front. It’s lovely how the library sits on a gentle curve of the road.

Roof line detail Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

There’s something appealing about looking up at a building’s right angles and seeing them against the sky. The building to the right looks like a newer addition.

Creative gutter work Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

Creative gutter work. I imagine this might be updated during the current renovation.

Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Street Side

I didn’t notice that dormer window when I was standing beside the building, but looking at this photo, you can’t miss it. Based on differences in the foundations, it looks like the section to the left may indeed be a newer edition.

Large windows let in light for reading - Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

The windows on the original building are so tall! They must have provided excellent light by which to read at various times of the day.

Black Lives Matter flyer posted on tree with portico in the background Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

A flyer in support of Black Lives Matter pinned to a tree. Notice the side view of the library’s portico in the background.

View from the portico Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

A view from the library’s portico looking down Lyme Street.

Old Marker Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

A handsome old plaque.

Walk of honor being built Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

A walkway of honor being installed.

When the Going Gets Tough, Ask a Librarian - Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library


Books for sale on the honor system - Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

This is where holds are left for patrons to pick up. It’s just outside what seems to be the library’s new main entrance. As you can see, they’re offering some books and puzzles for sale. Of course I browsed.

Nevada Barr Endangered Species

I recommend Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon Series A LOT. Each novel in this series is set in a different National Park. Barr served as a Park Ranger so she knows what she’s writing about. They’re good mysteries that are truly entwined with their landscape. In other words, the landscape is not just a gimmicky backdrop. Perfect for armchair travel, especially in this time of Covid-19. (Note: the series gets darker toward the end, so start at the beginning if you can. Anna Pigeon also grows as a character and it’s enjoyable to see her evolution.)

Newspapers available to read outside - Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

Newspapers are available for use on the library’s premises. A older new edition: 1995 is carved in the stone behind the sign that sits atop the bench.

Close up of sticker stating the newspaper has not been quarantined or sanitized Hartford Currant at Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

This sticker is on the upper left corner of each paper to let patrons know the newspaper has not been quarantined or sanitized.

New movies on display through the window - Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

A great way to let patrons know about new movies! This window is just behind the holds pickup tables, so folks can’t miss them.

My holds are library related. I picked up a book and a DVD:

  • Book: The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building by Henry Hope Reed and Francis Morrone, Photographs by Anne Day.
  • DVD: The People’s Palace: A Portrait of the New York Public Library, a film by Kunhardt Productions and Thirteen/WNET New York.
Patio and entrance to The Book Cellar - Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

An inviting patio and a tantalizing door to The Book Cellar, the library’s used book store. I’ll be back to check that out for sure.

Original Grand Entrance of Under construction Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

I’m so happy I was able to reserve and pickup items at this library, and truly look forward to going back when their renovation is completed.

Visit this Library

Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library
2 Library Lane
Old Lyme, CT 06371

P.S. I’m experimenting with watermarking my photos. Did you find the watermarks annoying, intrusive? I’m doing this primarily because of Pinterest. I enjoy browsing Pinterest, but one of the things I find frustrating is coming across intriguing photos and then being unable to follow them back to the source because the links have been stripped or are broken. With the name of the library and my website on the photo, I’m hoping this will help avoid that for others.

For an index of all my library visit posts, click here.


  1. Brilliant photos, Chris, a nice slice of library history! Great the beautiful old building is being preserved, I love the paved walk of honour. I too am interested in The Book Cellar – nice play on words.

    Just a silly aside, my father worked for a company called Noyes Brothers and the staff nicknamed it No Yes Brothers.

    Regarding watermarking your photos, I think it is a good idea but personally I would make the titles the same size as your name. Visible but not detracting to the eye; rather like how you snuck it onto the newspaper 🙂

    • Thank you! And thanks for the feedback on the watermarks. I’ll aim to make them the same size on the next library post.

      Love the No Yes Brothers. I imagine that nickname came in handy. 😉

      Years ago there was a used bookstore in a city that I used to frequent called The Book Cellar. It was actually one of those city shops that was below ground. Stairs leading down from the sidewalk so it really was a cellar. Such stores always seem a bit more adventurous to me, rather than those you just step in or up into. Seeing the name here brought back some fond browsing memories.

  2. The watermarks don’t bother me, but you should just use your own name or your domain, otherwise, people will think that the library owns these pictures. By the way, watermarks as you have them won’t stop anyone from taking your pictures, because they can be easily cropped off. Real watermarks are fainter than this, and are across the middle of the pictures, which makes removing them impossible. Just saying…

    • Hi Davida! Thanks for that feedback. I didn’t occur to me that someone might think they’re the library’s photos. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that going forward. I primarily want to use the watermark as an identifier. I know legally these are my photos with or without a watermark, and that people steal photos and other content. I’ve read that there is software that can stripoff center oriented watermarks. The app I’m using has options to repeat a watermark across the photo or put lines or logos on a photo, but I want people to enjoy the building without visual distraction (I obviously need to practice using the app).

  3. What a wonderful library and such good news that it’s being both preserved and extended. Thank you for sharing your great photos.
    The watermark is a good idea and I don’t find it distracting except perhaps on the photo with the movies advert where it appears a little larger for some reason.

    • Thank you, and thanks for the watermark feedback. It is always such a pleasure to see a library building being renovated, especially when the new addition harmonizes with the original architecture. My childhood city’s library had a huge, monstrous square tacked onto the front of the original building. Not that it was a particularly attractive building to begin with, but at least it wasn’t a big block.

  4. Now I know a new word: quoin. I never knew that interlocking brickwork had a special name. And thanks for the Nevada Barr rec, those books sound interesting.

    I think it’s a good idea to watermark your photos. Finding a consistent size/format/location will help it be as little disturbing as possible.

    • That was a new word for me, too. I’m a casual student of architecture and it always amazes me how many words there are for, well, EVERYTHING. The Barr series will give you a little taste of the US if you ever get homesick.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.