Avon Library Puts Local History Collection Online

The Avon library is putting its town history collection online

AVON — The town library and historical society have begun an ambitious effort to put much of Avon's historical records online.

A website,, went live Nov. 21 and the plan is to make it the digital home for the photographs, diaries and other documents from the Avon Free Public Library's Marion Hunter History Room.

The website was in development for a year, and those involved with the project expect that it will take a long time to put up everything they want to display on the site.

"This will take years," said Avon Historical Society President Terri Wilson. "We have boxes and boxes of material that need to be looked at."

Called the Avon History Collection, the site currently offers a sampling of more than 300 photographs of old scenes in Avon, short histories of prominent early families and stories of veterans. Among the stories is an account of the convalescent hospital that was run at the Avon Old Farms School from 1944 to 1947 for blinded soldiers.

Jessica Palmer, the library's technology and technical services librarian, said in an email that the website received 417 pageviews and 60 visitors in its first day. Most of the traffic was from Avon, but other visitors were from Connecticut and Vermont and New York, she said.

The Marion Hunter Room, named for a longtime librarian and historian, is staffed by volunteers from the historical society and open to the public. In addition to the historical records stored there, special exhibits are on display.

Tina Panik, the library's reference and adult services manager, said she wanted to offer easier access to collection.

"As soon as I was switched to reference librarian, this was a project I was interested in," Panik said. "The local history room has regional interest."

Panik said many more photographs remain to be added, and one challenge to to learn the identities of some of the people shown in them.

Library Director Glenn Grube said he would like to have the site included in the Connecticut Digital Archives, a project of the University of Connecticut to offer historical documents online.

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