History of the Library

The Town of Hatfield has a long and rich library tradition. A small social library existed in the Town as early as 1806, and was expanded by a donation from Sophia Smith in 1860. The Town first appropriated money for library use in 1873, at which time the social library was combined with an extensive agricultural library developed by the Town’s farmers. This free library was housed in the old Smith Academy building (now razed).

Dickinson Memorial Hall before Main Street was paved

In 1894 (or shortly thereafter) the Hatfield Public Library moved to the newly built Dickinson Memorial Hall, a handsome Renaissance-style building designed to be fireproof repository for town archives. The building was funded by prominent citizen Samuel H Dickinson and named in his honor. The two sets of cannons in front of the building were donated by Congress in memory of the Civil War.

A plaque inside the building recognizes Benjamin Wait and Stephen Jennings, two Hatfield citizens who journeyed to Canada in 1678 to rescue their kidnapped wives and children.

The photograph below shows the Town Clerk sitting in the Library in 1894.

Town Clerk using the library when it was still on the second floor

Originally housed on the second floor of the Dickinson Memorial Hall, the Library moved to the main floor in 1930 and now shares the building with the Town’s Historical Museum.

Historical Museum exhibit

Those interested in Hatfield history should come visit this historic building. While here, you may also wish to peruse our local history and genealogy collections. We also recommend visiting the Historical Museum, open Saturday mornings from April through October.  More details are available on the Historical Society website.

The Hatfield Public Library under a blanket of snow