are not seldom talismans and spells
By which the magic art of shrewder wits
Holds an unthinking multitude enthrall’d.”
— William Cowper
|Free and Open to All
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
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.
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
Our services are free and open to all.
The Rochester Public Library wants
Vermont Associates program that sponsors Jean Sullivan
to work at the library. Jean's help at the front desk,
for circulation, shelving, and a myriad of other tasks
has been a tremendous help.