Russell Library History
Frances Russell established Russell Library in 1875 in memory of her husband, Samuel. The Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity had built the building on the corner of Broad and Court Streets in 1834, and Mrs. Russell purchased and remodeled it in the Roman Gothic Style. The building opened as the public library for the City of Middletown on April 5, 1876. In 1930, the City helped to add the Hubbard wing, and in 1972 completed the remodeled Children’s Library, originally the First Federal Saving and Loan Association of Meriden, built in 1965.
In 1983, an architectural firm expanded the Library greatly, meeting the challenge of combining two disparate buildings. Two of the original stained glass windrows were reinstalled in the new main peak and in the Children’s area. Improved access for people with disabilities was achieved by the use of an elevator and ramps to the many levels. The combined buildings surround a beautiful inner courtyard, the site of concerts and other events. Lovely outside gardens have been subsequently installed.
Russell Library is very busy and serves as a regional library. It is a member of the Libraries Online (LION) automation network. In 1997, responding to space needs, the library purchased an adjacent building for Technical Services, Administrative Services, other staff offices, and Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut. In 1999, a second adjacent building was purchased for possible future expansion.