Imagine a small village along the river in the year 1868. For a glimpse of that reality, pay a visit to the library and community center in the tiny, Woodbury-adjacent town of Newport. The space was built in 1868 as a Baptist church, and the library moved in in 1897; it had previously been located in a small schoolhouse. Even today, the quaint library is “full of history,” says library and community center coordinator Sara-Marie Malewitz. “We maintain the historic nature of the building while moving forward … Community members are in six days a week to use the computers, watch a movie, play games, share crafts, visit with one another—and, of course, read books.”
Malewitz notes that the library, though it has a tiny physical footprint, hosts an impressive collection of materials, including a “small but interesting collection of local history books.” In fact, says Malewitz, the beautiful, time-capsule-like space often takes first-time visitors by surprise. “I love when a patron enters the space for the first time,” she says. “They stand inside the doorway and simply take it all in. There is something enchanting about the historic building filled with books.”
Unlike many east metro libraries, Newport’s doesn’t belong to a larger county system but is part of the city’s organizational structure (it was previously part of the Washington County system). “The library is staffed largely by volunteers who work anywhere from two hours a month to seven hours a week,” Malewitz says. “We have patrons and volunteers from many different cities in the metro.” Since the library also functions as the community center, there’s a wide variety of programming for kids and adults, including a Paws to Read program, an adult crafter’s day, and family story time. In November, the library will celebrate its 130th anniversary with a tea party.
Newport Library & Community Center
405 Seventh Ave., Newport