Facts & Figures

Since the doors opened on its Morris Memorial building on Main Street on June 22, 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

2022-2023 Annual Report

Strategic Plan 2021

IRS Form 990

Then and Now

Look How Far We’ve Come in 120 Years

Ridgefield population2,22625,042
Library building (sq. feet)4,00044,000
Opening hours (per week)1060
Library staff243
Collection size (physical items only)3,59376,303
Annual circulation (including downloadable items)7,124289,380
Operating budget$ 663$3.052 million
Average daily visits50498
Adult programsNone528
Children’s programsNone1,283
Teen programsNone56
Public computer workstationsNone31

Accolades & Honors

2018Library 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
2018Library Staff selected to present about our staff-created Escape Room experience “Artefacts Through Time” at the Connecticut Library Association annual conference
2018Library selected as a local club of the national Girls Who Code organization
2018Cris Nichols, Book Sale Coordinator for the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, awarded the Friends of Connecticut Libraries Individual Achievement Award
2017Kirby Klump and Ginny Canfield of the Ridgefield Library’s Friends’ Internet Sales Fulfillment Department awarded the Friends of Connecticut Libraries Individual Achievement Award
2016Library staff selected to present about our Comic Con programs at the Connecticut Library Association annual conference and at New York Comic Con
2014Library is selected as a local club of the national Girls Who Code organization
2014Along 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
2013Library invited by NASA to participate in the second year of Astro4Girls
2012Library 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
2011Library selected to serve as a Cooperating Collection of the prestigious Foundation Center in New York City
2010Along 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
2009International 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
2006Excellence 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)
2004Outstanding Friends Group, awarded by the Friends of Connecticut Libraries
2003Outstanding 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
1996Outstanding Library Director (Anita Daubenspeck), awarded by the CT Library Association

Do You Remember This?

A Timeline of Memorable Moments

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