was established in 1892 as Alton Free Public Library when the Town agreed to accept $100 worth of books from the State and appropriate $50 as a prerequisite for accepting the gift. The original library was located above the Laban G. Welch Drugstore across from Monument Square.
benefactor Oliver John Morrison Gilman drew up a will donating $10,000 to the town "for the purpose of purchasing land and the erection of a public library building," to be released upon the death of his widow. Gilman died in 1915 and his widow passed away in 1927. The monies were kept at interest until an amount deemed sufficient for construction had accumulated.
By 1950, the amount had doubled to $20,000. A portion of land, in the center of town on Main Street, was donated by Lewis P. Varney, in memory of his son, Robert, and construction on that property began. The Town voted to appropriate $3,000 from the Post-War Fund to enable completion of the project. The little brick building at 100 MainStreet was dedicated as and renamed in honor of Gilman, in a ceremony held on November 9, 1951.
Photo to the Right: The Gilman Library, Alton, NH, painted by Nurnberger , 1992.
in 1997, to add two spacious wings, symmetrically on each side of the original building, with the corresponding enlargement of the basement to include a large meeting room, kitchenette, restrooms, and a wheelchair-accessible elevator. The renovation was in keeping with the period style of the original building and offers. both a modern comfort with the cozy warmth of a bygone era, simultaneously maintaining history while keeping up with technology.
To the Left: Photo courtesy GoopleMaps.com Oct 2018
Founded in 1980, the Friends have proven to be a real asset to the library. Being part of this wonderful group is a great way to be together with old friends, meet new people, support the library, and give back to the community. If interested, please visit the circulation desk, give us a call, or send us a quick email.
Annette Slipp, Chair
Betty Jane Meulenbroek, Vice Chair
Kristine Simone, Treasurer
Karen Petelle, Secretary
To the Left: Gilman Library photo, circa 2013, property of the Gilman Library, Alton, NH