--> READ 4 THe FuN oF iT @<br> aaRoN CuTLeR MeMoRiaL LiBRaRy: Happy 300th Birthday to the NH State Library!
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

 

Happy 300th Birthday to the NH State Library!


Today, January 25, 2017 marks the 300th birthday of our State Library! (Cue the "Happy Birthday" song.) In celebration of this momentous occasion, Gov. Sununu proclaimed 2017 "New Hampshire State Library Year," and throughout the year the State Library will post 300 "fun facts" about the itself and the history of NH libraries.

Where did the State Library get its start? 

"New Hampshire is known for being first for many things: we hold the First in the Nation Primary, we ratified the first state constitution, founded the first public library in the United States and more. But you might not know that we also were the first state in America to have a State Library.

On January 25, 1717 in Portsmouth, the Twenty-Seventh General Assembly “voted that ye Law books be distributed among ye severall towns of this Province in proportion according to their last Prov. tax, except two books which shall be for ye use of ye Govr & Councile and house of representatives.” This law – made when New Hampshire was still part of England and almost 60 years before there even was a United States – makes it clear that the members of the provincial government knew that libraries are vital places of information and need to be a cornerstone of how we go about our business.

The “Law books” set aside for elected officials were the beginnings of the New Hampshire State Library, and they began a long history of libraries in New Hampshire communities: Peterborough is the first library in the country supported by public funds; “social libraries,” where members shared books and paid dues, flourished across the state in the early 1800s; philanthropists funded many public libraries – both the buildings and what went into them – a hundred years later. Soon, every city and town in New Hampshire had a library, proof that our citizens valued libraries as integral facets of our communities." (excerpt from OP-ED
"In 2017, celebrate another First in the Nation for NH" by Michael York, State Librarian)

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