The Hartland Public Library, Hartland, Vermont

1896-1899 Hartland Public Library Cards (Nos. 110 and 354) issued to Mrs. Lucy A. Darling and Mrs. L. V. Gilbert

The Hartland Public Library

The 1872 edition of the “List of the Institutions, Libraries, Colleges, and Other Establishments in the United States in Correspondence with the Smithsonian Institution” listed a library association in Hartland, Vermont, but it wasn’t until November 6, 1894, when the General Assembly of the State of Vermont enacted legislation to “promote the establishment of free public libraries,” that Harland officials set in motion the establishment of a public library system. 

To be eligible for state assistance, a town was required to put in place an elected Board of Library Trustees to oversee library services, and to annually appropriate funds for the continual maintenance of a library.  Upon acceptance of an application submitted by the Board of Trustees to the State Board of Commissioners, the Board of Trustees would be granted $100 for establishment of the library and purchase of  state-supplied books, and detailed guidance on how to set up, organize and maintain a successful library.

In 1896, the Hartland Public Library opened three “divisions” in Hartland, North Hartland and Hartland Four Corners.  As reported in the Vermont Journal, October 24, 1896, Louise R. (Mrs. Albert A.) Sturtevant (1843-1933), Jennie J. {Mrs. Henry T.} Dunbar (1867-1941), and Miss Lucy M. Flower (1875-1900), were appointed as the division librarians, and each provided an area or room in their homes for use as the library of their particular division.  900 volumes were divided amongst the three divisions to be rotated on a quarterly basis. 

“Hartland News,” Vermont Journal, July 4, 1896, Page 4 (Windsor, Vermont)
Announcement of Librarians, Vermont Journal, October 24, 1896, Page 4 (Windsor, Vermont)
Notice of North Hartland Hours, The Landmark, January 22, 1897, Page 4 (White River Junction, Vermont)
Hartland Library ca 1901 Sturtevant House Vermont – Source: Fourth biennial report of the Board of Library Commissioners of Vermont, 1901-1902. St. Johnsbury, VT: Caledonian Co., 1902. Author: Board of Library Commissioners of Vermont (public domain)

Apparently, library services were in such demand that Lucy M. Flower, the librarian of the Four Corners division, found it necessary to post a notice in the  Vermont Standard newspaper that visiting the library outside the posted hours of 1pm-8pm on Saturdays is no longer allowed.

Notice re Business Hours at Hartland Four Corners Library, Vermont Standard, July 22, 1897, Page 4 (Woodstock, Vermont)
The Flower House (formerly located across Rte. 12 from the Ladies Aid building) from “Hartland’s Family of Flowers,” Hartland Historical Society Summer 2007  (no known copyright restrictions)

Location of Division Libraries Over the Years

While most often located in the home of the presiding librarian, the locations of the division libraries changed multiple times over the years.  Some known locations were “Mr. and Mrs. Kelly’s new home” (1903), The Hartland Hotel (1909), Isabelle J. Cabot’s home (1909), the home of new librarian, Mrs. Harold Russell (1933) and an unused North Hartland schoolhouse converted for use as the North Hartland library (1975). 

Library Moves to the Kelly’s New House, Vermont Standard, December 13, 1903, Page 7 (Woodstock, Vermont)
1909 wing of the Hotel Hartland was used as the library
Vermont Standard, February 18, 1909, Page 5 (Woodstock, Vermont)
Library Moved to Russell House, Rutland Daily Herald, November 17, 1933, Page 14
(Rutland, Vermont)
Old School Building to be Converted to Library, Rutland Daily Herald, July 22, 1975, Page 7 (Rutland, Vermont)
New North Hartland Library Building Opens, Rutland Daily Herald, December 1, 1975, Page 13 (Rutland, Vermont)

Four Corners Library

In August 1943, the library trustees proposed to purchase a small office used by Millard T. White, a local lumber dealer, and have it moved “just over the fence” to a parcel of land “on the south west part of the [First Universalist Society] church lot” for use as the permanent location of the Four Corners Library.  Ultimately, Mr. White donated the main building and sold an additional building to the Trustees for $50.  The two-rooms were moved to the church property in August 1945, and a dedication ceremony was held for the Four Corners Library on August 23, 1945.

Property Leased, Springfield Reporter, August 23, 1943, Page 14 (Springfield, Vermont)
Books Unpacked, Vermont Journal, October 28, 1943, Page 10 (Windsor, Vermont)
“PTA Project,” Rutland Daily Herald, September 8, 1943, Page 8 (Rutland, Vermont)
Four Corners Library Dedicated, Vermont Journal, August 23, 1945, Page 8 (Windsor, Vermont)

In 1994, photographer Richard Dawson said in his book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, “the library was assembled from two office rooms from a local sawmill in 1944. It had no heat except a wood-burning stove. At the time [he photographed the building] it had just been closed and its entire collection of 70 boxes of books had just been sold to a local used-book dealer for $125.” The Four Corners library building was deemed “structurally unsound” and demolished sometime in 2010.

Martin Memorial Library

In 1958, Earnest N. Martin (1874-1965), a local lumber and saw mill operator, built the Martin Memorial Building and donated the building for use a the new Hartland Public Library.

New Modern Library for Hartland, Vermont Journal,
February 27, 1958, Page 3
Library Moves Into New Building, Vermont Journal, June 15, 1961, Page 10 (Windsor, Vermont)
The Martin Building today. Home of the Hartland Historical Society. Photo from Google Maps.

In June 1999, the Board of Trustees for the Hartland Public Library began taking bids to renovate and expand a two-story, 3,000 sf residential shell in Hartland. The renovation would added an additional 2,300 sf to the existing shell. According to the Hartland Library website, “[t]he Martin Memorial Building was used until the year 2000 when the dream became a reality and the current (2018) library building was built in Foster Meadow. “

The Hartland Public Library today. Photo from the Hartland Community Government Website (Copyright unknown. However, Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allows for “fair use” for purposes educational purposes.)

The Hartland Public Library is located at 153 Route 5 in Hartland, Vermont. 

Mrs. Lucy Adams Holmes Darling (1815-1908)

Lucy Adams Holmes Darling obituary from the Vermont Journal, Windsor, Vermont, January 18, 1908, Page 4

Mrs. Lucy Violet Darling Gilbert (1842-1914)

Daughter of Lucy Adams Holmes Darling

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s