Fairfield Public Library, one of the busiest libraries in the state, began in 1876 in the Fairfield Academy building…More on Town Green, and the library back then permitted people to borrow one book at a time when the library was open on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. The library, then called Fairfield Memorial Library, had 677 volumes, and it charged people $1 a year to borrow books.
In 1903, a building was erected at the corner of Post Road and Old Post Road in downtown Fairfield and became the library's new home. The town took over operation of the library in 1950, and additions were built in 1930, 1959, 1981 and 2004-05. The library's name was changed to its present name after the town assumed operation of the library.
Today, the library has a state-of-the-art children's department, a teen room, computer lab, gallery space for paintings, several meeting and reading rooms, and an entrance on the side of the building, next to the parking lot. Most of those features were part of the last renovation.
Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Ave. in the town's Southport neighborhood, is a privately-owned library that is open to…More the public, and it receives more than 100,000 visitors a year. It is one of three libraries in Fairfield - the other two are Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library.
Pequot Library was founded in 1889 by Elbert B. and Virginia Marquand Monroe, who lived in Southport. Frederick Marquand, Virginia's father, was a successful businessman and left his mansion in Southport and his fortune to his daughter, and it was from those assets that the Monroes started Pequot Library.
Pequot Library opened its doors to the public in 1893 and it has undergone several renovations since then. The library has about 110,000 books in its general collection, plus a large special collection that includes a total of 36,000 rare books, manuscripts and other material on life in the original 13 colonies in America from pre-colonial settlement through 1898.
The library also has a children's department, which includes Belle, a bunny rabbit, as its mascot; an auditorium; reading rooms; and periodical rooms. The library has public desktop and laptop computers with free Internet access and free Wi-Fi.
Pequot Library receives less than 25 percent of its operating budget from the town of Fairfield and state and relies on the remaining 75 percent from contributions and fundraisers.
One of the library's best-known attractions is its Annual Summer Book Sale, which draws book dealers and book lovers from as far away as California. It's the library's biggest annual fundraiser, and the sale in 2009 had more than 140,000 books.
Donations for the book sale, including compact discs, DVDs, record albums and tapes, can be dropped off year-round at Pequot Library.