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A Timeline of the Hanover Town/Etna Library

-- From Homes, to Hall, to Library --​

I. Private Book Collections

1801 - The story of the Hanover Town Library began in 1801. The community at that time was called "Mill Village" because of its location along a half-mile of the the original "two mile road" on the banks of the Mink Brook, whose falls powered a grist mill, a sawmill, and a filling and cloth-drying mill. A state charter incorporated the First Social Library of Hanover, whose collection moved from house-to-house as different members took charge

1819 - Town members chartered the Second Library Association of Hanover, gathering over 700 volumes. At first, it was kept in a member's house but later resided in the hall over the store in Etna, where town meetings were held.

1835 - The "Hanover, Lebanon, and Canaan Philosophical Library" was chartered with a collection that migrated among the three towns.

1883 - The Etna Library and Debating Society was organized; one of its members was paid $5 a year for housing the 300 books in the collection.

II. The New Hampshire Library Act

1891 - The NH legislature passed the Library Act, allocating a sum not exceeding $100 to towns that provided for the "care, custody and distribution of books furnished" by such a gift.

1898 - The Town of Hanover voted to accept the gift of $100 of books for the state and established a public library according to the provisions of the library law with the name of Hanover Town Library.

1899 - The Hanover Town Library opened in Hayes' Hall with a collection of about 400 books donated by the state, the Etna Debating Club's donation of their collection, and a donation of books by Edward Payton Storrs, owner of the Dartmouth bookstore.

III. Building a Library

1903 and 1905 - The Town voted an appropriation of  $2,600, of which $2,100 was to be used for building a library, and a $500 permanent fund, the income to be used for the support of the library.


1905 - The Town of Hanover approved plans for a new one-room library, 25-by-33 feet, with ceiling, vestibule and door of varnished hazelwood and a vault. Robert Fletcher, Dartmouth Thayer professor and library trustee, drew up the blueprint. A fireproof vault was added by special town vote. Fine-cut granite steps and a portico were donated by Mr. Henry C. Whipple in memory of the late John W. Dodge. Total cost of the building was a little over $2,800.

March 10, 1906 - Library books were moved from Hayes Hall to the new building. E.H. Wright donated a solid oak desk, office chair, eight-foot table, six chairs and an umbrella stand.

IV. A Growing Library

1932 - Electric lighting was installed.

1953 - An oil burning furnace replaced the wood stove.

1965 - The death of Kathrina (Aunt Pat) Spencer, former librarian and teacher, brought $82 as a fund for children's books. Also, a $1,000 bequest received from Adelaide Hardy began an endowment fund. From this same estate, gifts of a sampler, worsted flowers, a small print picture and a flax wheel enhanced the library interior.

1978-83 - Indoor plumbing was installed and a bathroom built in the vault.

1996 - The library's collection was added to the Howe Library catalog when the two joined as the Libraries of Hanover partnership.

1997 - The library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2010 - The Town of Hanover purchased Hayes Farm Park from the heirs of Morris and Ethel Hayes.

2014 - A sunny post-and-beam entrance was added and a lilac garden was planted at the base of the path to the Nan and Allen King bird sanctuary.

Thank you to all of our donors for the Hayes land purchase and library addition!

[Resources: Lord's History of Hanover, Town of Hanover Annual Reports.]

Hanover Town Librarians

Thomas W. Praddex                

Nettie J. Praddex                      

Etta F. Emerson                          

Kathrina E. (Pat) Spencer     

Edith R. Greenwood               

Elizabeth (Betty) G. Abbott    

Faith P. Stanley                      

Marilyn L. Thompson            

Mona T. Abbas                       

Mary Hamblett                     

Mary Jane Cook                     

Ila Douple Sellingham           

Carol Ahern                            

Eva Coutermarsh                   

Maree Legasse                       

Andrea Thorpe                       

Pat Erwin-Ploog                     

Patricia Hardenberg              

Barbara Prince                       

Jeff Metzler                             


1902 to 1910

1910 to 1929

1930 to 1935

1935 to 1953

1954 to 1958

1958 to 1959

1960 to 1961


1963 to 1971

1970 to 1975

1976 to 1977

1977 to 1980

1980 to 1981

1981 to 1983

1983 to 1984

1984 to 1988


1988 to 1999

1999 to 2021

2021 to present


Library Postcard

Thomas W. Praddex.tif

Thomas Praddex, First Librarian

Library Blueprint_edited.jpg

Library Blueprints

Sawmill across from library_edited.jpg

Sawmill Across from Library

Etna Library Addition Construction with Crane.JPG

Library Addition Construction

LIB_SW_West (Modified).tif

Old Photograph of the Library Interior


Nettie Praddex, Librarian from 1910 to 1929

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