History of the South Hadley Public Library
South Hadley has a long history associated with libraries, beginning in 1802 with "Ye Social Library of So. Hadley.” In 1897 the town established a free public library with depositories located at the Center Village and South Hadley Falls.
Permanent buildings were constructed in the two villages at the turn of the 20th-century. A private library foundation, the Gaylord Memorial Library Association, was established in 1902 to receive a bequest from William H. Gaylord. That original building still stands at "the Center Village” and operates as an independent public library with limited services and hours.
In 1906, Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000 for the town to construct a public library building in "the Falls” section of town. A Colonial Revival, red brick building was designed by resident William Skinner and the firm of Putnam & Cox. The building is located on a small point of land at a five-way intersection.
The original building was expanded in 1974 with a single-level addition of 5,100 square feet. Because of financial constraints, the original design of this addition was curtailed to meet the projected 10-year needs of the town.
From 1968 to 1995, the South Hadley Public Library and Gaylord Memorial Library operated under a unified South Hadley Library System with the Gaylord functioning as a branch library. This association was dissolved when the town could no longer fully fund the staffing and maintenance of two library facilities. The two libraries continue to explore ways to integrate town-wide library services and cooperate with joint sponsorship of programs.
In 2011, the Town of South Hadley received a $4,841,312 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to offset the cost of constructing a new municipal public library. An abandoned industrial site in South Hadley Falls was redeveloped into a new community cornerstone, showcasing modern library services alongside the historic South Hadley Canal. Through dedicated fundraising and the support of the Town of South Hadley, the $10.1 million project held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 13, 2014.
As the main public library for the Town of South Hadley, the South Hadley Public Library continues to meet the needs of citizens by providing a full range of library services.