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The Building

Springfield Town Library History

The earliest library in Springfield was organized in 1819 when a group of prominent citizens incorporated as the Springfield Central Library electing Nomlas Cobb as the town’s first librarian. The books, fewer than 100, were kept in his law offices for the use of the Library’s “proprietors.”   For a substantial fee, a person of good standing and at least 21 years of age could become a proprietor with borrowing privileges.

A second library, the Agricultural Library Association, was organized in 1850 and maintained its own small collection until 1871 when both libraries and the Springfield Wesleyan Seminary dissolved and donated their assets to form the Springfield Town Library .

Over the years, the library moved its collection to the offices and stores of successive librarians. The Library found a permanent home with a bequest from Henry Harrison Spafford, and when the historic Spafford Library Building opened in 1895 the collection had grown to nearly 5,000 volumes.

Springfield Town Library has expanded several times since then. In 1928 a donation from the children of Henry Barnard allowed for the construction of an addition to house a children’s room. Ten years later the Library had again outgrown the building and in 1939 a bequest by Mary Barnard was used to extend the ell on the original Spafford building to increase the shelf capacity of the Library.

Over one hundred years later, Springfield Town Library continues to serve the community from that magnificent building, expanded several times over the intervening century and now housing over50,000 volumes and including formats unimaginable when it first opened. The historic Spafford Library Building located in the heart of downtown Springfield is a local landmark and magnet, drawing people to Springfield from surrounding towns. Springfield Town Library enjoys the respect, devotion and support of the community as it remains committed to the best library services possible.