Richards Memorial Library

118 North Washington Street
North Attleboro, MA 02760

508-699-0122

History:

This library was first housed in the private home owned by Willard Hall. The site was found to be inadequate as a need was seen for a reading room. The collection was moved to the Kendall Block, later to the Odd Fellows Hall, and then back to the Kendall Block. The next move was to the Boyle Block as the collection and patronage kept growing throughout the early 1870's.

With $600 raised during the first year, the officers selected five hundred volumes of works on science and history. Mrs. Charles E. Smith thought this selection of reading material was not broad enough for the subscribers, especially the ladies. With $100 that she raised herself, she purchased a hundred volumes encompassing books on art, travel, memoirs, poetry, essays, and fiction. She was reaching out to the interests of the reading public. This was a policy that would govern the library throughout out the coming years.

In 1875 the library was transferred to the Union Improvement District, a local government agency of the Village of North Attleborough which also included the schools. This agency voted financial support not to exceed the sum $500.

The library, previously open to members only, now became available to the inhabitants of the district. Some restrictions remained: services were only to teachers, scholars, club women, or persons well known to the librarian, and then only one book per day, with a heavy fine of two cents per day on overdue books.

In two years time the rules were changed to allow a person fifteen years old to borrow books, but only if that person was of upstanding character!

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