DANBURY, Conn. – From the outside, the Long Ridge Library in Danbury could be mistaken for a historic landmark that hasn’t seen a patron in decades. But the tiny former schoolhouse houses a small but cherished library very different from most libraries today. It has been serving Danbury since the 1920s.
“It started out local, it has been local, and I want to keep it that way,” said Elena Sicconi, librarian. “That’s part of the charm.”
The walls are lined with books, some more than a century old. They are available for people to check out one day a week — two days a week starting in March. The library is run on a $4,600 grant from the city of Danbury and small donations from loyal patrons, Sicconi said. The grant barely covers the heating costs for the building, which is why the library is open only one day a week during the winter to reduce energy costs.
Although it is small and doesn’t have the financial resources of larger institutions, the Long Ridge Library is home to some rare treasures, including copies of Connecticut Magazine from 1900. The only others Sicconi has heard of are at Yale University’s library.
“They’re just fascinating,” she said. “It’s like looking into the past.”
The library has a physical card catalog but has no computers and no wireless Internet. But Sicconi says she has big plans to update the library. She recently made a Facebook and website for the library and is digitizing the card catalog.
The library is known for its wide selection of children’s books, storytime hours and festive holiday parties, always featuring cookies baked by head librarian Barbara Fulton, Sicconi said. During the spring and summer, the library hosts fairs, bake sales and live music outside on the lawn surrounding the tiny building. The library is also home to a book club that meets once a month on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Although the task of bringing the library into the digital age is daunting, Sicconi said the loyal patrons make it all worth it.
“The people around here really support it,” she said. “It’s really a local treasure.”
The Long Ridge Library, at 191 Long Ridge Road, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and will be open 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays starting March 9. For more information, call head librarian Barbara Fulton at 203-731-7915, email Sicconi at Elena@longridgelibrary.org or visit the library’s website or Facebook page.
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