Facts & Figures

Contact: Brenda McKinley, Director, 203-438-2282 x11002.

Since the doors opened on its Morris Memorial building on Main Street in 1903, the Ridgefield Library has been a destination for Ridgefielders of all ages. Here are some highlights of activity, past and present.

Facts at a Glance

A brief statistical snapshot of library activity during 2017-2018

Click here for the 2017-2018 Annual Report.

Then and Now

Look How Far We’ve Come in 100+ Years

  1903 2018
Ridgefield population 2,226 25,137
Library building (sq. feet) 4,000 44,000
Opening hours (per week) 10 60
Library staff 2 42
Collection size (physical items only) 3,593 98,418
Annual circulation (including downloadable items) 7,124 278,304
Operating budget $ 663 $2.841 million
Average daily visits 50 815
Adult programs None 591
Children’s programs None 665
Teen programs None 125
Public computer workstations None 21

Accolades and Honors

2018 Library chosen as one of a 100 recipients of a Revisiting the Founding Era grant designed to bring libraries and their communities together to explore the continuing relevance of the Founding Era. Presented by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in partnership with the ALA and the National Constitution Center with generous support from the NEA
2018 Library Staff selected to present about our staff-created Escape Room experience “Artefacts Through Time” at the Connecticut Library Association annual conference
2018 Library selected as a local club of the national Girls Who Code organization
2018 Cris Nichols, Book Sale Coordinator for the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, awarded the Friends of Connecticut Libraries Individual Achievement Award
2017 Kirby Klump and Ginny Canfield of the Ridgefield Library’s Friends’ Internet Sales Fulfillment Department awarded the Friends of Connecticut Libraries Individual Achievement Award
2016 Library staff selected to present about our Comic Con programs at the Connecticut Library Association annual conference and at New York Comic Con
2014 Library is selected as a local club of the national Girls Who Code organization
2014 Along with The Ridgefield Playhouse, the Library is chosen to participate in The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, and organizes a town-wide series of programs focused on The Great Gatsby
2013 Library invited by NASA to participate in the second year of Astro4Girls
2012 Library chosen to be one of only nine libraries nationwide to participate in a new pilot project with NASA and the American Library Association. “Astro4Girls and Their Families” will offer numerous educational and hands-on astronomy activities during March 2012
2011 Library selected to serve as a Cooperating Collection of the prestigious Foundation Center in New York City
2010 Along with The Ridgefield Playhouse, Library is chosen to participate in “The Big Read: Ridgefield Reads The Grapes of Wrath,” a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts
2009 International Year of Astronomy – chosen in a competitive process as 1 of only 40 participating libraries nationwide to host the “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery” exhibit. Presented by the Space Telescope Science Institute; the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; and the American Library Association, through funding from NASA
2006 Excellence in Public Library Service Award for the “Inspiring Girls—and Others—in Science” initiative, awarded by the Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Library Association, Friends of Connecticut Libraries, and the Association of Connecticut Library Boards
2005 “Einstein’s Big Idea” chosen in a competitive process for an outreach grant from NOVA’s Big Idea Program, produced for PBS by the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit (1 of only 20 sites nationwide)
2004 Outstanding Friends Group, awarded by the Friends of Connecticut Libraries
2003 Outstanding Library Trustee (Thomas R. Mantz), awarded by the Association of CT Library Boards
2002 $10,000 Long-Range Planning Grant, chosen in a competitive process by the Connecticut State Library, serving as local administrator of the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant program
2002 “Steinbeck Centennial 1902-2002” chosen in a competitive process by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities to receive funding as a participating venue
1996 Outstanding Library Director (Anita Daubenspeck), awarded by the CT Library Association

Do You Remember This?

A Timeline of Memorable Moments

1795 First library opens, with 150 volumes
1852 Hiram K. Scott’s Circulating Library in operation (private subscription only)
1871 Ridgefield Library and Historical Association established
1880 By-laws adopted
1883 Building supplied by Phineas Lounsbury (on Bailey Avenue, then moved to Governor Street)
1892 Library open daily from 10 AM to 12 PM, Wednesday 4 to 6 PM, and Saturday 7 to 9 PM
1899 Dewey Decimal System implemented by Miss Jennie Smith, one of our first librarians
1900 Current land purchased
1901 Elizabeth Morris Memorial building begun (donated by husband)
1901 Ridgefield Library & Historical Association chartered by the state General Assembly as a Connecticut corporation
1903 Opening of Morris Memorial building and establishment of endowment fund to provide operating income
1961 First annual grant from the Town of Ridgefield (endowment income and private donations until then) – $10,000
1975 Anita Daubenspeck becomes Library Director
1976 Friends of the Ridgefield Library established
1984 Major renovation increases footprint from 7,200 to 24,000 sq. ft.
1984 Bibliomation automated circulation system instituted
1988 Current Summer Reading Program for children started
1989 First “games computer” in Children’s Services
1990 Dayton Program Room built and adult programming blossoms
1993 Computerized Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) replaces card catalog
1996 Extensive renovation – no appreciable change in square footage
1997 First public Internet access offered
1999 Phyllis Paccadolmi retires after 53 years, including service as Head Librarian from 1955 to 1974
2000 Technology Plan implemented
2000 Anita Daubenspeck retires; Christina B. Nolan becomes new Library Director
2001 Storytime Sculpture Room built, to house life-size bronze sculpture by Glenna Goodacre, donated to the Library in honor of Anita Daubenspeck on her retirement
2002 Colonial Smith Tavern re-opens for business for Patriot Weekend
2003 Library Centennial Celebration & Ridgefield Reads The Wizard of Oz
2003 Teen Summer Reading Program launched
2005 Name changed to Ridgefield Library Association, Inc. after establishment of Ridgefield Historical Society
2005 Summer Reading Program for Adults added
2005 Public wireless service provided
2005 “Einstein’s Big Idea” and “Inspiring Girls in Science” initiatives
2006 Colonial games, music, stories, and food bring Rochambeau’s “March to Victory” to a transformed Library
2007 Paccadolmi Awards established
2008 Capital Campaign for the New Ridgefield Library launched
2008 First self-service checkout station installed
2008 “Ridgefield Writes” celebrates the town’s 300th anniversary
2009 International Year of Astronomy “Visions of the Universe” exhibit and related activities
2010 “The Big Read: Ridgefield Reads The Grapes of Wrath” (sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts)
2011 Library selected to serve as a Cooperating Collection of the prestigious Foundation Center in New York City
2012 New Town-Library operating agreement signed
2012 “Astro4Girls and their Families” pilot project with NASA and the Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
2012 Town passes referendum for $5 million grant toward construction of the new Ridgefield Library; private fundraising nears $15 million goal
2012 Library sells adjacent theater/bank property to Ridgefielder Valerie Jensen and work begins to transform the space into the Prospector Theater
2012 Library operations move to temporary location at 21 Governor Street for the duration of construction
2012 Groundbreaking for major renovation and expansion project on the site of the original Library building
2013 $15 million private fundraising goal reached; construction well underway at 472 Main Street
2014 Building project completed; Library re-opens for business at 472 Main Street in May with many new and expanded services.
2014 “The Big Read” of The Great Gatsby (sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts)
2014 Launch of local club of the Girls Who Code organization and of several Library-affiliated Odyssey of the Mind teams
2015 First Ridgefield Library Comic Con, leading to expanded RidgeCon event in 2016
2015 Introduction of “Making STEAM @ Ridgefield Library” as an umbrella “brand” for the Library’s expanding technology and creativity programming
2016 “Full STEAM Ahead” 3-day educational symposium and community engagement event produced in collaboration with the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
2016 First Annual “Love Your Library” Day in October offers short story writing contests, author showcases, and many other activities for the entire community
2016 “A Roast and a Toast” of Chris Nolan at the Ridgefield Playhouse celebrates her 16 years of service upon her retirement
2016 Passing Fall, Ridgefield, CT 2014 tapestry designed and donated by artist Helena Hernmarck installed in the Main Lobby of the Library
2017 Brenda McKinley comes on board in January as new Library Director
2017 Second Annual “Love Your Library” Day adds “Fore! Your Library” mini-golf in the stacks event
2018 Artefacts Through Time: An Escape Room adventure
2018 Making STEAM expanded to include a Maker-in-Residence Program, starting with a Virtual Reality immersion experience for all ages