The history of the Rockville Public Library began in 1893 with the bequest of $10,000 from George Maxwell to the town for a free public library. Previously, private subscription library services, which charged a fee, existed in the area. The bequest was given with the provision that the town raised an equal amount in five years.
In 1893 the Rockville Public Library was incorporated and the Rockville Public Library Association was organized. The town appropriated the matching $10,000 in 1895, and the following year the library opened in the Hartford Connecticut Trust Company building on Elm Street.
The present building, constructed in 1904, was designed by Charles A. Platt of New York. It was a gift from Mr. Maxwell’s wife and children after his death. In addition to the building, the gift included funding to maintain and operate the facility. The majority of the library’s current operating budget continues to come from this source. The total cost for the lot, building, and furnishings was approximately $150,000. The library was dedicated and opened on June 29, 1904.
Three kinds of marble were used in the construction. The exterior of the building is white Vermont marble, featuring eight Ionic columns. The interior is Sienna marble and stained oak. The vestibule is lined with Formosa marble.
The frieze, or ornamental band, encircling the reading room contains the names of 26 great authors: Addison, Aeschylus, Browning, Bunyan, Burns, Byron, Chaucer, Dante, Dickens, Eliot, Emerson, Goethe, Hawthorne, Homer, Hugo, Jonson, Longfellow, Milton, Poe, Scott, Shakespeare, Sophocles, Stevenson, Tennyson, Thackeray, and Virgil.
The Latin inscription over the circulation desk, “Ex hoc fonte illa quae summa haurimus“, translates, “We draw the greatest things from this source.”
In 1967 the building was renovated and the children’s wing was added.
The adult department was renovated in 2002 to maximize available space and to allow for greater use of technological resources.
In 2013, an addition was built on the main building to provide handicapped accessibility, provide a teen area, and upgrade the technology to meet our community’s needs. The exterior of the building was preserved as inside walls and additional parking was added.
In 2018, The library became a department of the Town of Vernon.
The Rockville Public Library enriches the lives of the community by providing free and equal access to a variety of library resources and technologies necessary to meet residents’ need for information, education and cultural growth.
The Rockville Public Library will be an integral part of our community and the leading provider of resources to enrich, enlighten and inform our diverse population.
We are committed to:
- The idea that libraries are the foundation of a free society and that access to knowledge and information is vital to the quality of life of our community.
- Intellectual freedom, access to knowledge for all, and respecting individuals’ rights to privacy.
- Providing all patrons and visitors with professional and friendly service.
- Strengthening our community by promoting literacy and lifelong learning.
- Recognizing and valuing the contributions of volunteers.
- Collaborating with community partners to provide the best materials and resources possible.
- Being fiscally and environmentally responsible in our operation
Rockville Public Library is a municipal library funded by the Town of Vernon. When our library was founded, the estate of George Maxwell and the City of Rockville and the Town of Vernon shared the costs equally. From 1904 through late 1960’s the library was completely self-funded through our endowment. At that time, the Board of Trustees asked the town to revisit the original partnership and the Town of Vernon began contributing to the Library operating budget with the amount increasing over the years. When it became apparent that the endowment could no longer support the library, the Board of Trustees and the Town of Vernon reached an agreement to keep the library open as a vital community resource in Vernon. Effective July 2, 2018, the library became 100% funded by taxpayer funds.