Early library history in Candia dates back to 1824 with the formation of the Candia Library Literary Society. Over the course of many years it changed its name but there was always a lending library of some description.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Frederick Smyth was a Candia native who left his hometown to seek his fame and fortune. He became successful in business and politics and made a considerable fortune in banking and railroads.
In 1888 the private library system in Candia was in severe straits. Local residents called upon then Ex-Governor Smyth for help. He pledged $1,000 to open up a library for public use. The first meeting of the Smyth Public Library Association was in May 1888, and Candia had its first library. Fundraising began to buy books and the library had 740 titles when it first opened. The building it occupied then is known as the Fitts Museum today.
Due to the generous nature of Governor Smyth and his wife Marion, a sum of money was donated to the Library Association to build a new library. The new brick building on the hill on High Street opened in 1932.
Candia’s 6200 square foot Smyth Public Library opened in December of 2002. It is situated between the Candia Elementary School, the Candia Park, and the new (2004-5) Candia Town Pond & Natural Area; it is linked to all three via a new sidewalk and trail system. Among the library’s features is a working fireplace in the Leisure Reading area, an art display gallery, and an outdoor Reading Garden with extensive perennial flower plantings and comfortable benches overlooking the pond.
The mission of Smyth Public Library is to provide and ensure access to books, information, materials, and services that fulfill the educational, informational, cultural, recreational, and professional needs of Candia’s residents in a welcoming, respectful, and supportive environment.
Everyone associated with the Smyth Public Library is saddened by the loss of Edna Brown. Edna was our librarian for 24 years, then a Trustee for 20 additional years, as well as a huge booster with the pie cabinet donated every year. Edna was always an avid reader. As trustee, she was one of the movers and shakers behind getting the new library built. It was always her dream. In recognition of all her efforts, the garden area accessed from our lobby was named “Edna’s Garden” in 2008. The plaque reads, “this garden is a testimonial to Edna’s love of beautiful flowers, her passion for books and her dedication to this library.” The library and all of Candia will miss her.