New Hampton School takes over state’s only private, nonprofit town library

  • Gordon-Nash Library in New Hampton has been owned and operated by the New Hampton School since Jan. 1. Courtesy of New Hampton School

Monitor staff
Published: 1/24/2020 3:32:35 PM

The state’s only private, nonprofit library is now part of New Hampton School following a merger that was proposed a year ago.

Since Jan. 1, the Gordon-Nash Library has been owned and operated by New Hampton School, “with the understanding that the library will be run as a shared-use facility for the school and the town of New Hampton,” said the school.

Selectman Mark Denoncour said the institution has been struggling financially for years.

“After wringing our hands and trying to figure out how to make the institution move forward, this is a win-win,” he said.

Because the trust that owns the library is overseen by the state’s Office of Charitable Trusts, Denoncour said New Hampton is confident that it will remain open to the public.

The will that established the trust said it must be “open to all residents, students and sojourners,” Denoncour said, adding: “The library has struggled with that for 120 years – what is and what isn’t a sojourner?”

The library started in 1896, built by several New Hampton School alumni including Judge Stephen Gordon Nash. It opened to the public in 1906, and has served as New Hampton’s public library since then.

“We are very aware of the financial issues they have faced since the downturn of the stock market in 2008,” Denoncour said. The town of New Hampton has been giving it $15,000 a year to help.

The Gordon-Nash Library will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year while New Hampton School celebrates its bicentennial.

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