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History of the Stratford Library:

The Stratford Public Library was first organized in March of 1921 by the P.T.A. at the original Princeton School, a building later moved to 320 Harvard Avenue, now a residence. Miss Amy Hardester, a teacher, volunteered as the first librarian. However, when the school closed for the summer, Mrs. Hemmingsen of 106 Princeton Avenue offered her home, and the library remained there until 1924.  In 1924, Mrs. Hemmingsen and Mrs. Raymond Winter asked Mr. Iredell, the Stratford Postmaster, if they could move the library to the post office, then located in Mr. Iredell's home at 1 Atlantic Avenue. Mr. Iredell agreed to let them have space in the post office. Mrs. Hemmingsen assumed chairmanship in 1925.

On February 27, 1927 the P.T.A. obtained the loan of a small building at Jefferson and Atlantic Avenues. From this date, in this tiny building it became the Stratford Free Library.  In March of 1929, the P.T.A. purchased the building for $75.00. At this time, the P.T.A. and the Borough shared in cost and repairs. The Women's Civic Club took over sponsorship in 1955, Also, the Stratford Library became a member of the County Library System. The library moved into a wing of the Borough Hall on January 3, 1959, and remained until Memorial Day 1961, when it moved to a building at 302 Union Avenue. This building had been a sheep barn on Princeton Avenue prior to 1890, later served Stratford's School, and eventually was moved and converted to a residence. Cost of purchase and renovation of the building was $26,279. By 1961 it had 5000 books.


In April, 1961, the library became a formal organization with by-laws and borough financing and cooperation. New borrowers' cards were issued, and a cataloging system was begun. In 1962, book circulation was 13,636. The Gaylord checkout machine was installed in 1966. The McNaughton book selection rental plan was instituted in 1968. The first copy machine was purchased in 1969.


The property which was eventually to become the site for the new building at 303 Union Avenue, was purchased by the Borough in April 1969, included in bonds for $16,250. On May 6, 1980, Mayor and Council voted to replace the library with a new structure at Union and Kirkwood Avenues, which would become part of the Municipal Complex.

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