State Library, first in the nation, celebrates 300 years in 2017
CONCORD – The New Hampshire State Library – the first state library in America – will be celebrating its 300th anniversary throughout 2017. At the Jan. 18 governor and council meeting, Gov. Chris Sununu read a proclamation naming 2017 "New Hampshire State Library Year."
In January 1717, New Hampshire’s 27th General Assembly met in Portsmouth, passing several orders and resolves. On the 25th of that month, it declared that "Law books be distributed among ye severall towns of this Province in proportion according to their last Prov : tax, except two books wch shall be for ye Govr & Councill & house of representatives." Those books were the beginning of the New Hampshire State Library.
While the New Hampshire State Library today continues to be a centralized location for state and government documents, its collection also focuses on New Hampshire authors and illustrators, New Hampshire topics and library science materials. State Library staff provides library services to residents, scholars, visitors, elected officials and librarians throughout the Granite State.
The library’s van delivery service transports more than 500,000 books, DVDs, CDs and other materials each year among the state’s public and academic libraries; this sharing allows them to focus their purchasing dollars elsewhere. The Talking Books division, which serves New Hampshire residents with vision challenges, was named best in the country by the Library of Congress in 2014.
Throughout the year, the state library will post 300 "fun facts" of information about the library, as well as New Hampshire library history and New Hampshire literary history, on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. It will also distribute articles about today’s New Hampshire State Library to media outlets and add a new section to its website that will be devoted to the anniversary.
"New Hampshire can take great pride in knowing that, yet again, we are No. 1," said Michael York, acting commissioner of the Department of Cultural Resources and state librarian. "We encourage staff and patrons at New Hampshire’s libraries to use our 300th anniversary as a launch pad to celebrate their own libraries."
The New Hampshire State Library promotes excellence in libraries and library services to all New Hampshire residents, by assisting libraries and the people of New Hampshire with rapid access to library and informational resources through the development and coordination of a statewide library/information system; by meeting the informational needs of New Hampshire’s state, county and municipal governments and its libraries; and by serving as a resource for New Hampshire.
For more information, visit nh.gov/nhsl.
– Submitted by
N.H. Department of Cultural Resources