The E. W. Morris Memorial Library Building that forms the historic front wing of the Ridgefield Library opened its doors for the first time on June 22, 1903.  The Library is planning to commemorate this milestone anniversary in a variety of ways this summer, and the community is invited to share their memories of the Library and its place in their lives.  A new project — part of the Library’s “All Together Now” Summer Reading activities — will allow residents to create and share materials on a collaborative online platform.  The Library will be providing more information about this project in the coming weeks. 

The E.W. Morris Memorial Library Building at 472 Main Street was not the first library to serve Ridgefield’s residents:  in 1795 a subscription library opened in town with a collection of 150 volumes, followed by Hiram K. Scott’s Circulating Library in 1852.  The Ridgefield Library and Historical Association was established in 1871 and incorporated by the State of Connecticut in 1901. Library services were offered in a variety of locations in town until the purchase of the former Smith Tavern property at the corner of Main and Prospect Streets in 1900, with construction of the Morris Memorial Building commencing in 1901.  The building and land were purchased and donated by Library Board Member James N. Morris, a New York businessman who summered in Ridgefield, in memory of his late wife, Elizabeth.  Architect Raleigh C. Gildersleeve’s design for the building blends the Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Chicago styles and makes beautiful use of marble, granite, brick, copper, bronze and decorative ironwork. The Morris Building is part of the Ridgefield Center Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the Morris Building is comprised of the Friends of the Ridgefield Library Reading Room, which houses the Library’s periodical collection; the Sara and Rudy Ruggles, Jr. Reading Room, containing fine and performing arts collections; the Liz and Steven Goldstone Special Collections Room, containing poetry, plays and literary criticism; and the Randolph Board Room meeting space.  In an active and vibrant 21st-century library, the Morris Building also serves as a Ridgefield Library designated quiet space. After 120 years, the Morris Building continues to welcome generations of Ridgefielders.

Check our website to learn more about upcoming activities and programs at the Library, including the celebration of the Morris Memorial Building this summer.

Sunday, June 4th @ 2:00 pm:  Interested in elections and voting in Connecticut?  What is the status of early voting now that it has been passed in Connecticut and how will it work?  Connecticut Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas will speak about these and other related topics at the League of Women Voters of Ridgefield’s Annual Meeting.  The League’s business meeting will be held prior to Thomas’s presentation. Members of the public are invited to attend the Keynote speech at 2:00 pm.  

Secretary Thomas has spent her entire career in public service. Prior to her election as Secretary of the State, she served as State Representative for Connecticut’s 143rd District – Norwalk, Wilton, and Westport.  As Vice-Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, she sponsored and helped pass a variety of voter-focused bills, such as automatic voter registration and resolutions to advance early voting and universal access to absentee ballots. Secretary Thomas is committed to protecting voting rights and strengthening civic education in Connecticut.

Learn more and register here.

Thursday, June 1st @ 7:00pm:  Journalist, documentarian and Ridgefield resident Todd Brewster will discuss his new book, a remarkable collection of over 200 stunning photographs of children—from the Civil War era to the present—that captures the ever-changing experience of childhood throughout American history.

Did Americans “invent” childhood? Brewster believes we did, or at least childhood as “a period of life cordoned off from that of full maturity, covered with a veil of protection, and subject to a program of nurture.” That’s the inspiration behind this rich, compelling volume of rarely seen historical images drawn from the photography collections at the Library of Congress, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the Magnum Photo Agency as well as dozens of other archives, flea markets, and antique shops.  The result is a carefully curated paean to American youth: 200-plus photos from all parts of American history, joined by a series of deeply insightful essays on the topic of the American child.

Books on the Common will have copies available for purchase and signing.

Learn more and register to attend.

Thursday, May 25th @ 7:00pm:  The Ridgefield Library and Lyme Connection welcome Ross Douthat to the Library to discuss his new book, The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery. Douthat, a New York Times opinion columnist and author, will discuss his battle with a devastating sickness, ultimately diagnosed as a chronic form of Lyme disease. In The Deep Places, Ross details the struggles faced by many Lyme patients as they seek a proper diagnosis and appropriate medical care—and explores the controversies that surround these insidious tick-borne diseases. During his journey, Douthat discovers the many pitfalls of modern medicine, as well as the strength and courage needed to reclaim his health

Books on the Common will have copies for purchase and signing.  Please register to attend.