Blake Memorial Library is located in the hamlet of East Corinth and serves residents in Corinth, Topsham and beyond. Visit the Blake Memorial Library website for general information and special events notices.
676 Village Road
East Corinth, VT 05040
Phone: (802) 439-5338
Fax: (802) 439-5338
Visit the Blake Memorial Library YouTube Channel Oral History Project for interviews with many Corinth residents.
Library Director: Emily Heidenreich
OFFERING MUCH MORE THAN BOOKS ALONE:
We are a public library offering resources and services free of charge to everyone in our region. Primary among the resources we offer is a collection of about 20,000 books, videos, and audiobooks. Last year, we loaned about 12,000 items, and added about 1,200 to the collection. In addition, we make ten computers (along with printers and a copier) available to the public; we provide free wireless high speed internet access and help accessing internet resources; we maintain a public space for individuals and community groups to use; we make several periodicals available for circulation; we offer a rotating collection of videos and audiobooks from the Libraries of the Upper Valley Co-op; we maintain a collection of local history reference materials and provide research assistance; and we host a variety of programs (from lectures to films to readings to storytelling to public read alouds to musical performances to technology workshops) for a variety of ages and interests.
Every Thursday morning we host a children’s program of stories and crafts, and we welcome groups in for activities specially designed for them. We facilitate book discussions and homeschool meet-ups, poetry meetings and knitting get-togethers, and in partnership with the East Corinth Congregational Church, we host discussions of philosophical, spiritual, and religious books. In cooperation with Waits River Valley School, we circulate summer learning bags. In cooperation with the Vermont Department of Libraries, we provide interlibrary loan service, we make large print books available, and we offer materials for patrons with special needs. We also display the work of local artists; so stop in and have a look.
Through our website, we provide access to an ever-increasing collection of resources. Through a partnership with the Green Mountain Library Consortium, we offer access to a collection of thousands of downloadable audiobooks and e-books. With support from the Vermont Department of Libraries, we offer access to Universal Class, a service offering over 500 online continuing education courses in a variety of subjects. Also through our affiliation with the Department of Libraries, we are able to provide access to the Vermont Online Library (VOL), a reference tool for all ages offering databases of encyclopedic information, both archived and current newspapers (including The New York Times), academic publications, medical and business information, and much more.
The Blake Memorial Library is a publicly supported non-profit public library operating under 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Financial support for the library comes from trust income, from individual donations, from fundraising events held by the library, from grants, and from the support of the residents of Corinth and Topsham.
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘BLAKE’ IN BLAKE MEMORIAL LIBRARY?
The Blake Memorial Library started “with a wheelbarrow full of books.” In the early 1890’s three young men in East Corinth decided the town needed a library. After locating and preparing a room to use, they took a wheelbarrow through town asking for contributions of books. These three men, and others who joined them, were informally organized as the East Corinth Library Association. Throughout the decade, they raised money for books and expenses by holding dances, fairs, etc., moving the library from one location to another as circumstances necessitated.
In November 1900, the association acquired the present library site. The secretary of the association, in an attempt to find financial support for a permanent library building, contacted several former residents including Almira Blake Gendrot Fenno of Boston. Nathan Blake, III, Almira’s father, had come to East Corinth in 1817, where he lived until his death in 1849. His three surviving children – Nathan, Charles, and Almira – moved to Boston in 1852, but had kept in close contact with the town and had contributed books and magazines to the library.
After much correspondence, the Blakes decided to give the town the building as a memorial to their parents, Nathan and Susan Blake. In 1902 the new building was completed and dedicated. The Blake Memorial Library Association was formally organized.
The Blakes’ original endowment soon became insufficient to meet high costs and for several years the Blakes paid for books and insurance. When Charles Blake died in the1920’s, he left several thousand dollars in trust to the association as did his sister, Almira, a few years later.
In 1945, the Blake Memorial Library burned. The entire contents of the library were lost including the irreplaceable artwork given by Almira, much of which was her own. The association was left with 200 to 300 books that had been in circulation. Work was soon begun on a new, much simpler building, as funds were short, despite the generosity of the Blakes. In 1949 the new library building was dedicated and opened to the public soon after Felix Gendrot, Almira’s husband, visited the town. Pleased to see a new building on the site, he made provisions to aid the library financially. Upon his death in 1956, the library received in trust a large portion of his estate. An addition to the library was built in 1961 and called the Felix Gendrot room.
The library has continued to receive lots of community support since then and it has adapted to meet the changing needs of the community. In recent years, the Holland family has established an endowment to help ensure a vibrant future for the library. As an institution dedicated to the democratic process, we are always happy to hear from folks in the community about what they would like that future to look like.