South Hadley Public Library serves as a safe community gathering space where all library patrons are welcomed with dignity and respect. The library’s collections, programs, and services will reflect both the town of South Hadley and the world at large. The library will collaborate with community partners to provide a comfortable environment that is reflective and responsive to the recreational, educational, and cultural needs of our library users.
Goals & Service Priorities
- Celebrate Diversity: Cultural awareness. Residents will have programs and services that promote appreciation and understanding of their personal heritage and the heritage of others in the community.
- Create Young Readers: Early literacy. Children from birth to age five will have programs and services designed to ensure that they will enter school ready to learn to read, write, and listen.
- Know Your Community: Community resources and services. Residents will have a central source for information about the wide variety of programs, services, and activities provided by community agencies and organizations.
- Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong learning. Residents will have the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest and continue to learn throughout their lives
- Visit a Comfortable Place: Physical and virtual spaces. Residents will have safe and welcoming physical places to meet and interact with others or to sit quietly and read and will have open and accessible virtual spaces that support networking.
Our town has a long history with libraries. In 1802, "Ye Social Library of So. Hadley" was establish (the records of the Social Library are in the library's Local History Room). In 1897 the Town established a free public library with depositories located at the Center Village and South Hadley Falls. In 1902, through the generosity of benefactors William H. and Betsey Gaylord, the Gaylord Memorial Library Association established an independent public library at "the Center Village" and that library opened in 1904 as a charitable nonprofit organization separate from the town.
In 1906, Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000 to construct a town-owned public library in "the Falls". The municipal South Hadley Public Library was expanded in 1974. The South Hadley Public and Gaylord Memorial libraries operated together as the South Hadley Library System from 1968 to 1995 before separating again.
In 2011, the Town of South Hadley received a $4,841,312 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to construct a new municipal library. Additional funding was provided by generous grants, donations, and public funding from the Town of South Hadley. An abandoned site in South Hadley Falls was redeveloped and the new library opened in 2014, showcasing modern library services alongside the historic South Hadley Canal.
In 2017, the Selectboard, Boards of Library Trustees for both South Hadley Public and Gaylord, and Town Meeting voted to integrate library services under the direction of the Town of South Hadley's publicly elected Library Trustees. Today, the South Hadley Public Library operates as the main library of a two-library system, with Gaylord Memorial Library operating as a branch library. The library is a member of the CW MARS library consortium, allowing library card holders to use and access materials and information from libraries across Massachusetts.