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Shelton Librarian Opens The Book On Plumb Memorial

Elspeth Lydon, director of Plumb Memorial Library in Shelton.
Elspeth Lydon, director of Plumb Memorial Library in Shelton. Photo Credit: Submitted

SHELTON, Conn. -- No matter how long you have lived in Shelton, Elspeth Lydon, director of Plumb Memorial Library, said there are a few things that may surprise you. 

The most common question she said library staffers get is whether the Plumb Memorial Library was ever a home. The answer? No. It was constructed as a public library. However, there is a clause in the will that if it ever stops being a library, the property and building revert to the donor’s family – descendants of the Plumbs and Wakelees. 

Some more history: the building was funded by the estate of David Wells Plumb and constructed with the support of his widow, Louise Wakelee Plumb. The estate, as was common in the 1890s, went to his brother, Horace Plumb of Bridgeport, who had to agree to fund the project David held near to his heart.

Other interesting library news:

  • Plumb has an anchor in its attic that was taken out of the Housatonic River about a century ago.
  • The library has had only six directors in its 120-year history.
  • Have you read 1,000 books? The library recently launched “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" that is open to anyone in the Valley. The project is funded with a grant from the Valley Community Foundation and expanded with United Way funds. So far, 150 families are signed up.
  • "We provide a ring binder and blank pages for the first 100 books," said Lydon. "Parents turn in the sheets for stamping and get the next set for 100 titles plus a reward to keep kids returning." 
  • She did the math: even if you don’t start until your kid’s 4th birthday, you can still manage to read 1,000 books before the big day in the fall. "You just need to read more than two per day, and most families do that without trying," she said. 
  • Additionally, the library with the support of the Friends of the Shelton Libraries and the Shelton School Readiness Council, has five Purple Book cases in the community for its “Look! A Book” initiative. The books on the book cases are free for the taking and supplied from donations received by the Friends for book sales. The project was spearheaded as part of an Eagle Scout project.

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