about the library
To be the premier community information resource in Rowayton for all of our area’s individuals and community groups.
To uphold the principles of intellectual freedom by providing people of all ages with access to information that reflects varying points of view and by encouraging our constituents to foster a lifelong appreciation of words, language and learning.
The Association of the Free Library and Reading Room of Rowayton is
governed by a board of trustees, serving terms of three
years. New Trustees are elected each year at the Association's Annual
Meeting, held on the second Monday in June.
The Sixth Taxing District provides the major part of the Library's
yearly budget. Proceeds from special events, income from a small trust
fund and gifts also help finance the Library. Gifts to the Library are
tax deductible. For further information regarding gifts, please contact
the Library Director or a member of the Library's Board of Trustees.
history - time line
●1903 - The Rowayton Library was organized by a group of public-spirited citizens and housed in a room in Craw's Hall at 101 Rowayton Avenue. It opened with capital of $154., a loan of 100 books from the State of Connecticut for three months and 25 books from the Bodley Book Club to be exchanged monthly.
●1905 - On July 12, 1905 The Library was officially incorporated.
●1926 - Having outgrown the first home of The Library, the Board held a special meeting and approved the purchase of 145 Rowayton Avenue, former firehouse of the Reliance Hook and Ladder Company (and now the Rowayton Art Center). The Library paid owner, Frank Machette, $5700. for the land and the building. Upon moving in, the first floor was used to house the collection and the second floor was used as a community-meeting place, known as The Library Hall.
●1966 -The present building and surrounding six acres at 33 Highland Avenue were purchased by the Sixth Taxing District of Norwalk to become the Rowayton Library and Community Center. Originally, this Tudor-style building, constructed in 1912, was a part of the extensive estate of James A. Farrell and housed the stables, tack room, and grooms’ facilities. The original windows in the horses’ stalls are still visible from the West side of the building. The Farrell Estate was later purchased by the Sperry Rand Corporation, which developed the first commercial computer on this site. In 1966, The Library entered into an agreement with the Sixth Taxing District whereby The Library gave the Sixth Taxing District the property and building at 145 Rowayton Avenue and agreed it would continue to perform the services of a “public library” for the community of the Sixth Taxing District in exchange for their new home at 33 Highland Avenue for the next 99 years and a funding grant every year.
● 2007 – The existing Library space was renovated down to the hay found in the ceiling. The renovation included new lighting, new carpeting, new walls, new shelving, the look and feel of fine wood furnishings, the appreciation of the stone and mortar, the rejuvenation of our prized artwork, and a children’s room that adapts to their needs, plus improvements to comply with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements.
● 2012 – The exterior renovation of the Community Center began with two major historic preservation matching grants from the State of Connecticut which allowed for the repair of the slate roof, copper flashing and gutters and other structural and architectural restoration in order to ensure the proper care and maintenance of the buildings for the future. Included in the work were the restoration of the cupola and clock on the roof, windows and doors, where needed. Underground electrical power was also installed, replacing the overhead wires. In so doing, the building more closely resembles what it first looked like when originally constructed in 1912 as part of the upgrading of the infrastructure.