The Otis Library from Then to Now MAY 2021
It is the History of the Library Time. I decided to tell you about the Otis Library & Museum, the greatest little library in the world.
The Otis Public Library was established in 1891 with $100.00 worth of books from the Commonwealth and was housed in Mrs. Edmund Davidson’s home. The library moved several times between 1891 and 1953.With an initial donation of $10,000.00 from Graham Hunter and with work, and dedication and a few contributors, the conveyance of the current site was finally recorded on July 17, 1948 and The Otis Library a small historic red building located in the center of town at 48 North Main Road moved to its present location in 1953. The building was owned and managed by the Library Corporation until June 2013, when it was re-deeded to the Town of Otis.
The library structure is comprised of masonry block, the roof is covered with asphalt shingles, and the heating system is hot water baseboard. The first floor holds a collection of approximately 12,500 items, 5 computers, a copy machine and a network printer for patrons use. Wireless access is available throughout the library and is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people needing internet access from outside the library. Inside the library, patrons may also use their own personal devices. Patrons can sit in matching upholstered high back chairs around a large library table, originally owned by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt when they lived at 125 East 36th Street, New York City. The library also has mounted a large flat screen which can be used for computer classes, speaking events or other educational purposes. The walls in the main room have been used to showcase art and photography from local amateurs, professionals and school children. The dedicated “Joel Morris” Reading Room was renovated, painted and furnished with new desks and chairs, donated by the family in 2014. The children’s room was moved to the main circulation area in 2017. The porch area serves as a book sale area.
The second floor is closed to the general public because there is no handicap accessibility. However, special groups are permitted admission. There are two rooms upstairs which have been cleaned and re-organized. One room is dedicated to the museum and displays artifacts and historic memorabilia of the Farmington River area. Many items have been identified and dated. A donation policy was approved by the trustees in 2013 to record and catalog the items held in the museum. The reading room allows reading of old items, private conferencing, tutoring, social conferencing and other uses.
The Otis library was certified by the State in 2008. It is managed by a 7-member Board of Trustees, three members are elected, and four members serve by appointment, One Library Director, and an Assistant, and one part time children’s librarian. Great fundraising efforts in 2008 & 2009 raised the funds to become members of the CWMARS network and to completely automate the library system. This increased patron attendance, and broadened circulation of books and other materials through the Interlibrary loan program.
Additionally, the librarians and trustees create story walks, monthly arts and crafts programs, and summer reading programs. Local artists can exhibit on a monthly basis and writers have a venue to speak to small audiences about their books and experiences. informing the community via the town’s website and social media and submitting both articles and calendar events to monthly local publications.
On March 14, 2020 the COVID 19 Pandemic brought the Otis Library progress to a halt. We have had time to reflect, seeing where we have been and where we are headed. As we traveled through these years we have had to learn so much: from card catalogs, to data bases, from our inventory to bookmobiles, to Inter Library Loans. We know how to file, save, download and upload, zoom, Where are we headed?. Looking Back has been good. Now we need to look at our resources, our needs, and our space. We know we can move on…. Look at how far we have come!!