The Hagaman Memorial Library serves the East Haven community with a collection exceeding 70,000 volumes. Materials for preschoolers through adults fill its shelves. Access to magazine & newspaper articles, databases and books at other Connecticut libraries is available through iconn.org, Connecticut’s digital library. Circulation exceeds 139,000 items per year.
In 1909, East Haven was one of 15 Connecticut towns without a library. The state offered to furnish a case of books if a responsible person to take charge could be found. Miss Lottie Street volunteered and on July 1, 1909, the first library in East Haven opened for business in a coatroom of the old town hall.
Within two years, this location became overcrowded. The board of directors leased a small, one-story structure behind the Kirkham building. In 1917, the library moved once again to the old post office building. It remained there until it moved to the present location in 1928.
The current library building was erected in 1928 thanks to the generosity of Mr. Isaac Hagaman. An addition to the original structure was completed in 1975.
The first mention of children’s programming occurred in the 1923 annual report. At the request of the State library, the East Haven Library celebrated Children’s Book Week and for a short time tried to schedule story hours. These were soon discontinued due to lack of facilities. At the same time, the librarian asked for suggestions for books needed in schoolwork. Cooperation between the library and schools was another state requirement.
In 1926, the East Haven Public Library Bulletin listed titles by Louisa May Alcott, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and Jules Verne. There were many books that were probably considered the “Sweet Valley High” of the time, among them “Carolyn of the Sunny Heart” and “Peggy Stewart at School“. Preschoolers would have found few picture books on the shelves.
History of East Haven by Sarah Hughes (full-text on Google Books)
Murals painted by Charles D. Hubbard
Local History Resources