The John P. Webster Library (JPWL) collections focus on the practices, literature, history, and culture of faith within churches and society. We are open to the public and welcome all seekers, denominations, faiths, and cultures.
The JPWL was established in 1978 through the bequest of Ms. Florence Sidette Crofut, who had joined First Church at the age of 88. Her great admiration for Pastor John Webster led her to donate frequently to the church’s library fund, allowing him to indulge his interest in biblical archeology. A formal library was eventually established “to contribute to the life and well-being” of the entire congregation. Ms. Crofut requested it be named the John P. Webster Collection, in honor of her friend, “for that name carries a blessing with it.” When she died in 1974, Ms. Crofut left a portion of her estate to the church with the provision that the money be used so that “the John P. Webster Library might become an outstanding New England church library.” At that time the library had about 3,500 volumes.
Recently the JPWL added materials from the Ruth Dudley Resource Center at the CT United Church of Christ Conference Library, and now offers a diverse collection of religious and secular books, biographies, audio books, videos and more – over 10,000 items – to nurture spiritual growth, inspiration, and fellowship for all ages.
The JPWL carries a large selection of resources for scholars and clergy on Biblical history and interpretation, church management and administration, social justice issues, sermon-writing, and more. Parents and faith formation leaders will find curricula and teaching resources as well as a large collection of children’s picture books on social justice issues, children’s health and spirituality, character, diverse faiths and cultures and much more.
The JPW offers a variety of services and programs to the greater West Hartford community:
- Diverse collection of over 10,000 religious and secular resources
- Online Catalog
- Pre-K through Middle School collection
- Guest Speakers
- Author Forums
- Book Group Kits available for loan
- Awakening the Spirit book discussion (each Monday).
- Food for Thought book discussion (first Thursday of each month).
- Special programs
- First Church of Christ Archives
- Art Gallery
- Free WiFi
Jennifer deSimas, Director
Karla Grafton, Assistant Librarian