Another Jewel in Redding’s crown is the incomparable
Mark Twain Library.
439 Redding Road, Redding, CT 06896
Beth Dominianni , Library Director
Honoring the vision and legacy of its founder, the Mark Twain Library offers the Redding community a center for intellectual, educational, social and cultural enrichment, providing a wide variety of materials, resources, and programs for all ages. –Adopted 1/11/2010
The Mark Twain Library Association is a private, non-profit corporation providing free public library services to the town of Redding. Its operating budget is funded in part by a grant from the town of Redding, and in part by contributions received from individuals and others. (Click here for information on how you can support the library.)
Library operations are overseen by a board of trustees, who serve for a maximum of two three-year terms. Board members are elected at the Association’s annual meeting in June. As of June 2013, the members of the board are: Janice Meehan (President), Ginny Beasley (Vice Presidents), Sandi O’Reilly (Secretary), Karen Gifford (Treasurer), Emily d’Aulaire, Jake DeSantis, Tom Hauser, Betsy Higgins, Grady Jensen, Colleen Joyce, Stewart Lade, Madeline Leslie, Angela Matsuoka, Pam Robey and Jennifer Wastrom.
Individuals who donate to the library’s annual appeal or who make other monetary contributions during a given calendar year are identified as “Friends of the Library“. They also become members of the association for that year and are invited to participate in the library’s annual meeting. Current Friends of the Library receive invitations to the Library’s annual art show party.
The library is now part of the 75-member Bibliomation Library consortium, which allows Mark Twain Library patrons fast access to the more than 2,500,000 items held by the member libraries.
Click here for the library’s most recent annual report.
As Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) reached his seventh decade, his published writings focused increasingly on his life history. He even consented to have his biography written by the author Albert Bigelow Paine, who moved in with the recently-widowed Clemens to expedite the project.
Paine had a significant impact on Samuel Clemens’ final years. In 1906, on Paine’s recommendation, Clemens purchased a total of 240 acres in Redding, and arranged to have an Italianate mansion built. In June 1908, Clemens moved to the property, which he named Stormfield, and he lived there until his death in April 1910. His youngest daughter Jean, who became his close companion, was given a house on the northeast corner of the estate.
Within five months of moving to Redding, Clemens joined with his new neighbors to form the Mark Twain Library Association; a Mr. Adams donated the land where the Library now stands. Clemens enjoyed raising money for the Library, through such amusing stratagems as charging his houseguests to retrieve their luggage as well as supper dances and benefit concerts.
But it was only a day or two before his death that Samuel Clemens wrote the generous check permitting the construction of the first library building. The house and property given to his daughter Jean were sold after her tragic death (on Christmas Eve 1909 from a seizure). The $6000 proceeds from this sale was directed to the erection of the Jean L. Clemens Memorial Building. This building was opened in late 1910 and served the Redding community well for almost 60 years.
In 1972, the library quadrupled in size with the construction of a circular addition. And after the completion of a significant renovation project in 2000,the library has been able to offer updated technological resources in a newly-configured and expanded building.
Click here for additional details on the library’s history.