Prescription Read Program
In January of this 2016 the Young Ladies Library Association in cooperation with the Pease Public Library expanded its Prescription Read Program to include the distribution of books through Pease Public Library.
The Young Ladies have already for several years been funding free books for infants at six months, twelve months, eighteen months and two years; the children receive the books at their biannual check-ups through local doctors' offices. Since January, three and four year-olds have also been eligible to receive one free book each from Pease Public Library. Visit the library during the year of your child's third or fourth birthday and receive a free book!
Young Ladies Library Association History
The public library in Plymouth, New Hampshire dates from 1873 when fourteen young ladies organized the Young Ladies Circulating Library. They conducted many fundraising events and in 1874 established their library on Main Street in a second floor room supplied by John Langdon over his express office. Within three years the collection and patronage had increased so rapidly that larger accommodations became necessary. In 1876 Colonel Henry W. Blair purchased the old courthouse, restored it, moved it to a new location on Court Street, and presented it to the Young Ladies Library Association.
Completed in 1774, the old courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth. It was used as the Grafton County Courthouse until 1823. Within those courthouse walls a young attorney named Daniel Webster made his first pleas in a criminal case in 1806. The building has had a colorful history, having been used variously as a meeting room during the Revolutionary War, a schoolhouse, a paint shop, and a wheelwright shed.
In 1896 the Town of Plymouth elected its first library trustees. One year later the town voted to accept the Trustees' and Young Ladies Library Association's (YLLA) proposal that the library operate as a free public library. The town assumed most of the financial obligation; while overseeing the financial affairs of the Plymouth Free Library, the trustees turned these funds over to the YLLA who continued to assume the responsiblility for operating the library.
This arrangement continued until 1958 when, at the YLLA's request, the Library Trustees became responsible for everyday library operations. The YLLA became the owners and maintainers of the library building, while continuing their support for the library in numerous other ways.
Over the course of its first 100 years, the Plymouth Public Library, as it later became known, enjoyed steady growth in its patronage and the size of its collection. By the 1960s it had outgrown its facility, and a small workroom and bathroom were added. The overcrowding continued, with books stored in every nook and cranny, and no solution in sight.
In November of 1982, Charlotte Pease, a longtime member of the Young Ladies Library Association, left a bequest to the organization. It was prudently invested during the boom years of the 1980s, and in 1987 a Library Development Committee was formed to oversee the building of a new facility.
In January of 1991, Pease Public Library opened its doors at the foot of the Common in downtown Plymouth. The library name honors the Pease Family, both Charlotte whose generosity enabled its construction, and her brother Capt. Harl Pease, Jr., an Air Force pilot who died in WWII, and for whom Pease Air Force Base was named. The library was constructed on the site of the Pease home. The upstairs houses the library collection, and the downstairs the Rachel P. Keniston Community Room, named in honor of one of Plymouth's outstanding citizens.
The old Daniel Webster Courthouse, which was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in April 1982, now serves as the Plymouth Historical Museum, run by the Plymouth Historical Society. The building is owned and maintained by the YLLA.
The Young Ladies Library Association continues its years of support and close association with the library. Its members sponsor book sales, host special events, and operate a pre-school literacy project. Funds raised by the YLLA are used to support children's programming and services. New members are always welcome, and you don't have to be a "young lady" to join the organization---men and women of all ages are welcome. Call or stop in at the library for more information on how you can become a member of the YLLA.