Massachusetts: The Library State

Tuesday, April 97:00—8:30 PMRoosevelt RoomMaynard Public Library77 Nason St, Maynard, MA, 01754

Do you love your local library? We hope you do! Come learn about the amazing history and cultural treasures represented across the Bay State's libraries.

When Benjamin Franklin donated more than 100 books to the tiny Massachusetts town, newly named in his honor, he probably didn’t realize the impact he would have. In 1790, the citizens of the Town of Franklin voted to make Ben’s books freely available to any resident – a library policy that is all but universal in today’s libraries but was a novelty at the time. His books are still on display at the Franklin Public Library, though too fragile for modern citizens to borrow or even touch.

Those books are among the treasures and the remarkable stories of our libraries, including:

* The oldest library building in the United States, now part of the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, MA

* The location of the first dedicated children’s library in the world, at Arlington, MA

* The first taxpayer-supported library, at Wayland, MA –a town named for its library benefactor.

* The W.E.B. Dubois Library at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, the tallest in the western hemisphere.

* The first large city library to be funded by the public-— the Boston Public Library – with its millions of books and priceless art treasures.

* In addition to dozens of libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie, the story of many other wealthy individuals who funded local libraries is fascinating and inspiring . For example, Jacob Edwards funded the library that bears his name in Southbridge, MA. He was also responsible for acquiring many of the most famous impressionist paintings at the Museum of Fine Art!

In his presentation, local author and historian, Alan Earls, will help you look at our library legacy with fresh appreciation and excitement!

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