About The Library

Welcome to the Derby Public Library.  Thanks for stopping by! Our beautiful library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the municipal library for the City of Derby, CT. There are so many services, resources, and programs that we offer to our patrons that there’s something for everyone. And if you’re in our area, come check us out! We’d love to have you as a member of our library family and give you a tour!


Holton Harcourt Wood June 19, 1885 – Feb 27, 1897




On December 27th 1902, the Derby Public Library was officially presented and dedicated by Colonel H. Holton and Alice Wood in memory of their son, Harcourt, who died February 1897 at the age of eleven.  With this opening, Derby ceased to be the only city in Connecticut without a free  circulating library.


A memorial plaque in Harcourt’s memory is displayed at the front entrance and flowers are placed throughout the library on Harcourt’s birthday. The Woods made an offer to donate land, building and $5,000 for books provided the city would match funds and promise to upkeep the Library.


about_Architecture1902 – Work began on the library.  Hartley Dennett, the architect, focused his design on lasting interior as well as external beauty, which is evident in the Colonial Revival style, Flemish gables, and granite ashlar walls.  The original 7,500 square foot building is now listed on the National Historic Register.

1990 – Because of space limitation, plans for renovation and expansion began in 1990.  A 7,200 square foot addition was added and carefully matched to the existing structure.  Interior restoration work included renovation of the stenciled walls, woodwork and original brass lighting fixtures.

2000  – Derby Public Library is rededicated on May 21, 2000.

Mayor Richard Dziekan proclaimed December 27, 2022

“Harcourt Wood Memorial Library/Derby Public Library 120th Anniversary Day”

On December 27th 1902, Derby Public Library was officially presented to the City of Derby and dedicated by Colonel H. Holton and Alice Wood in memory of their son, Harcourt, who died in February 1897 at the age of eleven. 

120 years later, the Library continues to serve the community by providing free access to books, DVDs, computers, do-it-yourself projects, newspapers, magazines, e-resources and online databases along with free programs and events. The Library also offers free Wi-Fi and plenty of comfortable and safe places to study or read.

Click here for more on the Mayor’s Proclamation