Guernsey Memorial Library: Keeping It Local
Published: November 21st, 2022

NORWICH – It’s finally feeling like it’s fall. 

The leaves have performed their annual migration from overhead to underfoot.  We’ve seen the first flakes of snow in the air and on the ground. 

The last few lingering jack-o-lanterns are looking more and more gruesome as they dissolve on folks’ front porches.  People are starting to think about the upcoming holiday season and ads advising us to “Keep it Local” are starting to appear. 

For most people, the first thing that springs to mind when you mention you’re “keeping it local” this time of year is Small Business Saturday, which occurs the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Small Business Saturday serves to remind us that the best holiday gifts can be even more meaningful if they support the local community and are purchased close to home, made locally, of locally sourced materials.

Everybody loves a present, but we all know that this time of year isn’t all about the gifts.  Nor is it all about the Eurocentric view of history that we typically celebrate this time of year.  In addition to Thanksgiving, November is also Native American Heritage Month.  

If you’re interested in celebrating or at least learning more about this important part of our history, come to the library service desk and we can direct you to books and videos on all sorts of different aspects of Native American culture, history, recipes, art, and literature.  If you’re more interested in the specifics or the archaeology of our region, it might behoove you to make a trip to the Otis A. Thompson Local History Room, where the collection contains detailed information on Iroquois culture, the origin of place names like Chenango and Canasawacta, and publications of the Chenango Chapter of the NYS Archaeological Association.

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The Otis A. Thompson Local History Room also houses information on a broad range of topics beyond those related to Native Americans.  There are hundreds of thousands of pages of Norwich and Chenango County newspapers on microfilm ranging from the early 1800s to the present that are also searchable digitally at  You can browse more than 100 years of the Norwich Archive yearbook.  Files on the history of many Chenango County families are available to jump-start genealogical research projects.  There are oodles of historical pictures and postcards to give you a taste of old-timey Chenango County.

We are making available more resources via the Internet all the time, but the Local History Room itself is open to visitors Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00, and Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 until 12:00.  If those hours don’t work for you, phone the library at 607-334-4034 for an appointment.  Our staff would be happy to help you get started on your fascinating journey through the local history of Norwich and the rest of Chenango County.

– From Connie Dalrymple, Director Guernsey Memorial Library