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Massachusetts: The Library State

Community Meeting Room, Main Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy, MA, 02169

Join us for a presentation about the amazing history and cultural treasures represented across the Bay State’s libraries in honor of National Library Week!

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 his presentation, local author and historian, Alan Earls, will help you look at our library legacy with fresh appreciation and excitement. Alan Earls is a Boston-area writer and author or co-author of several books including Greater Boston’s Blizzard of `78 as well as histories of the Jacob Edwards Library and the Franklin Public Library. He most recently co-authored Boston Made: From Revolution to Robotics, Innovations that Changed the World.

Generously funded by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library.


Apr 13 2024


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Thomas Crane Public Library


Thomas Crane Public Library
40 Washington Street, Quincy, MA 02169
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