New London’s first library was established in 1801 in the home of Josiah Brown, as a private lending library comprised of 100 volumes. The first Town Library was founded in 1897. It was housed in the Grange Hall with an operating budget of $100 annually. In 1907, the library moved to the newly built Colby Hill School, currently the site of the town parking lot.
The Library’s current building was erected in 1823 as the home, saddle, and harness shop of Capt. Jonathan Everett. It later became the Morgan family home in 1854. In 1918, while owned by Jane A. Tracy, the building functioned as the original site of New London Hospital. When New London Hospital changed locations in 1923, Mrs. Tracy, with architect Sidney Strickland, converted the building into a new Town Library. In 1926, the library opened.
In 1970, the need for additional space drove the conversion of an auditorium built into a stack area. At the same time, the Reading Room was refurbished and the New Hampshire room was created.
A Building Committee was formed in 1988 to develop a proposal for a $1.3 million dollar renovation and addition. Funds were raised through a Capital Campaign and a bond issue. In 1990, the building was renovated to conform to building codes and double the existing space while maintaining the character and history of the original building.
Tracy Memorial Library became fully automated in 1996. Public computers and wireless access were later added. In 2007, the roof was remodeled, the HVAC was updated, and age related issues were repaired to preserve and maintain the Tracy Memorial Library for future generations.
For more historical information, please see the Tracy Library building history page of the New London Archives.
Celebrating the Gift of Margaret Ensor to Tracy Memorial Library
Margaret’s daughter Christine Brunner & granddaughter Lisa Garcia Please stop by and see our fabulous interior renovation which was funded entirely by a generous bequest from the estate of Margaret Ensor. It was the wish of Margaret’s family that her gift be used to update the Library’s interior. The renovation includes custom furnishings in the circulation desk area, office, and children’s department.
Margaret had been a volunteer at Tracy Library since 1983. By 2003, she had accrued over 6,000 volunteer hours, by her own count. She assisted us with interlibrary loan and unpacking new books, until her death in 2008. We miss her very much. Please visit the Library as we pay tribute to Margaret.
Tracy Library Dedicates Memorial Garden
On July 23, 2011 Tracy Library dedicated a memorial garden in honor of Nancy M. DePorter who had lived in New London with her husband Robert since 1991. Mrs. DePorter was an avid reader and Library supporter, and the generous donations received in her memory were earmarked for re-landscaping the Library property along Main and S. Pleasant Streets. This includes the creation of garden beds, planting of American Liberty Elms, installation of a drip edge, grading and seeding the lawn, and repair of the walkways. The garden beds include lilac, star magnolia, azalea, rhododendron, and hydrangea.
My heart shall be thy garden. Come, my own,
Into thy garden; thine be happy hours
Among my fairest thoughts, my tallest flowers,
From root to crowning petal, thine alone.