NH Library Profile

This is the first in what we hope will be a semi-regular series of guest blog posts about the many wonderful libraries in our state. This post on the Amherst Town Library was contributed by Jane Martina. Jane is currently a library assistant and local history collection intern at the Amherst Town Library. She is a junior at Colby-Sawyer College.

Amherst Town Library, ca. 1911-1925
The origins of the Amherst Town Library date back to 1797, when a group of citizens founded the Amherst Library Society. After 32 years, the Amherst Library Society disbanded and their book collection was sold at auction. By 1859, a voluntary group known as the Amherst Library Association created a 300 book collection that resided at Librarian, George K. Walker’s store. In 1871 it was moved to the petit jury room at Town Hall. Twenty-One years later, in 1892, the town of Amherst built their first Library building. At the dedication of the Library on April 30, 1892, the famous artist Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Amherst’s prominent lawyer and politician, Charles Humphrey Atherton, was presented to the Library. His portrait can still be seen today behind the circulation desk.  By 1907, the Library had outgrown their original building prompting the first renovation.  Upon completion of the renovation on March 9, 1911, the Library had tripled in size and was officially recognized as the Amherst Town Library. Since then the Library has undergone two more renovations in 1971, 1987.  In 2014, new paint and carpet and some different shelving and furniture freshened the library’s interior and make the arrangement better suited for current use.
Amherst Town Library, ca. 2013

Today the Amherst Town Library’s collection has grown exponentially from its early beginnings to 65,630 items, ranging from books/eBooks and magazines to DVDs and audiobooks. Not only has the collection grown in size, but also as the town has grown so has the number of library patrons. Currently, the Amherst Town Library has 5,565 active cards holders. The Amherst Town Library is a member of GMILCS, Inc. a nonprofit corporation of 12 public and academic New Hampshire libraries that share an integrated system. Along with sharing materials, the Amherst Town Library provides a number of services ranging from programs and meeting rooms to public computers/laptops, 3D printing and research assistance.  As the Library changes one thing has remained the same, our commitment to “[providing] all community residents with materials and services for their information, education, and entertainment needs.” Each of our staff members and trustees uphold this mission by providing caring, innovative, quality, and professional services to each individual patron and the community at large.
To find out more about our history, services, collection, and events happening at the Amherst Town Library visit our website www.amherstlibrary.org


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