As an institution in service to the public for over 200 years, we are a proud and dedicated collective. Our mission is to provide the residents of Rochester and the rural communities of the White River Valley with research tools and information access, reading and discussion opportunities for all ages, literary cultural events and performances, and a collection of publications that reflect the diverse nature of history, science, politics, the arts, health, economics, spirituality, how-to, poetry, travel and geography, language, and, of course both classic fiction and best-selling contemporary literature. We provide a facility that is comfortable and welcoming. We offer home delivery services to the housebound and an interlibrary loan program that works with public, school and university libraries throughout Vermont.
Our services are free and open to all Rochester residents.
The Rochester Library enjoyed a humble beginning on March 1st, 1801 when the first book was borrowed from a collection of approximately 48 volumes. In 1875, the Rochester Library and Lecture Association sold shares of stock worth $471 and the book collection increased to 300 volumes.
Twenty years later, in 1895, the first Board of Trustees was elected into office at town meeting. As a new public institution, the library became eligible for financial aid through the state board of library commissioners.
From 1910-1936, the library moved around from private homes to the side room of a local business. Despite these moves the collection grew to over 3,500 books. In 1937, Chester E. and Leslie D. Pierce deeded their property, which had been the home of the Universalist Church Society on South Main Street, to become the permanent home of the library. A WPA grant paid for renovations and building repair. During the 1940’s, records indicate that the state book mobile visited often and many new books were purchased. Another WPA grant provided much needed labor and training for book repair and preservation.
In 1966, a monetary gift in memory of Dr. William M. Huntington allowed renovation of the old church kitchen into the Children’s Room we know and love today. During the 1980’s a historic preservation grant was secured to refurbish the stained glass windows on the upper floor. The Intergenerational Art on the Park project installed the colorful painted mural around the perimeter of the Children’s Room during the summer of 1999. By 2001, expanded interlibrary loan services, on-line public access and an expanded collection of over 15,000 titles ushered the Rochester Public Library into a new century.