History of the Library

The original library building that still stands today was constructed as a result of a bequest from Miss Fanny A. Welles and a land donation by Miss Welles’ sister, Mary Welles Eddy. 

In addition, the trustees purchased an adjoining parcel of land for the building site. The building was named “The Lucy Robbins Welles Library” in honor of Miss Welles’ mother and opened its doors to the public in 1939. Since that time there have been several renovations to the original building. A wing was added for the Children’s Room in 1960 and a major renovation that greatly expanded the library was completed in 1988. In both cases, the original building with all of its charm and elegance was incorporated into the renovations, creating a unique and inviting mixture of old and new.

History of the Library
Newington library in 1960 with wing


While library services have changed and expanded over the years, the library’s mission to provide information, education and cultural enrichment for the Newington community through a commitment to excellence in library resources remains the same. The library still offers traditional library services including print book collections, programming and answering reference questions but embraces the use of technology to offer new and exciting services for our patrons. 

Downloadable eBooks, eMagazines, digital music, eReaders and the virtual library available 24 hours a day from the library’s website are some of the many ways we are changing the way we do business with the Newington community. The one thing that has not changed is the library staff’s commitment to offer excellent customer service. We want to make everyone feel welcome and have a positive library experience.

Library today
The Library Today

Who was Lucy Robbins Welles?

The Lucy Robbins Welles Library is  named after its benefactor Lucy Robbins Welles. She and her family were well-respected in Newington. Read about Lucy Robbins Welles, as described by Elizabeth Baxter, former Town Historian (deceased).

Portrait of Lucy Robbins Welles

 Brief History of Library Services in Newington

In 1999, Eileen Cormier wrote a "A Brief History of Library Services in Newington" in response to a discussion she had with former library director Marian Amodeo and two others about "Who were the previous librarians?" Read A Brief History of Library Services in Newington (PDF)

Brief History of the Library cover