Dedham Public Library
The beginning of library facilities in Dedham goes back to 1794, when the Social Library of the First Parish was organized. The constitution and the by-laws for governing the library were adopted on September 8th, 1794, when the first meeting of the proprietors was held. The town minister kept the books in his house and issued them for circulation on Mondays only. The library grew from 87 volumes in 1809 to 230 volumes in 1838 and 500 volumes in 1860, and extended its services to all residents of the town. As of 1856, the books were placed in the vestry of the First Parish Church and were circulated on Sundays, with Jonathan D. Cobb as librarian.

On November 24, 1854, Dedham residents got together and founded the Dedham Library Association, with Dr. Samuel Adams as its first librarian. The newly founded library, which opended its doors on February 1st, 1855 functioned for two years in the building occupied by Dr. Samuel Adams at 630 High Street. In 1872, the Dedham Library Association transferred its holdings to the newly organized Dedham Public Library and endowed it with 2,977 carefully selected volumes. These books formed the nucleus of the present Dedham Public Library, which was chartered by an act of the Legislature on March 24th, 1871, and accepted by the town April 27th.

The Dedham Public Library was opened to the Public on February 4th, 1872 in a rented room over Thomas J. Baker's store, corner of Court and Norfolk Streets. Miss Frances M. Mann, long connected with the Library Association, was elected librarian. The reading room was a great success from the start, and, while it was frequented by all Dedham residents, its most numerous patrons were the boys and girls of the town.

Although alterations and improvements had been made to the library over the years, the need of a library building was early apparent to the trustees and to the public as well. The bequest of Hannah Shuttleworth made possible in 1886 the erection of a library building. A committee was appointed in March, 1886, to secure a suitable site, and the present library lot at the cornere of Church and Norfolk streets was purchased at a cost of $2,000.00 out of the $10,000.00 bequest. Plans for a library building by Boston well-known architects Van Brunt and Howe were accepted by the corporation on September 22nd, 1886. The new library opened its doors on November 8th, 1888. The exterior of the building is constructed of Dedham pink granite, with trimming of red sand stone. The style is romanesque of Southern France, treated in a rural fashion, and the interior follows the same style.

In 1916, the Trustees of the Public Library established in the main library a special room for the use of children. The Children's Room was opened May 1st, 1918 with Miss Edith H. Smith as the children's librarian. From the beginning, it has been very popular and has been used not only by children, but also by teachers who could obtain books for use in the classroom.

There were no additions to the building until 1952, when the new Children's wng was built and the Adult Department was renovated.

A new main entrance was built on Church Street. To build the main branch of the Dedham Public Library were used the stones of the Dedham Train Station that was demolished in 1951.

At this point in time, the book collection was 58,192 volumes. A special feature of the new wing was an auditorium on the lower floor. Not long ago, this auditorium was converted to a reading room for history and travel books, in order to provide more shelving for the growing book collection.

Historical review taken from an article in Internet

Other worldwide entities related to Library Services:
AIB-WEB - Il web dell'Associazione italiana biblioteche (
Departamento de Literatura Hispánica y Teoría de la Literatura (
Associação Portuguesa de Bibliotecários Arquivistas e Documentalistas (
Bibliothèque nationale de France (
Boston Public Library (

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