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A Few Words on the Historic Franklin, MA, Public Library and Ben Franklin's Donated Books

Franklin Public Library photo, Franklin, MA

Franklin Public Library, Franklin, MA (photo by Eric H.)

Article and photo by Eric H. 

Did you know that the Franklin Public Library in Franklin, MA, is generally acknowledged as the first public library

established in the United States? But wait, that's not all... US statesman, publisher, scientist, social activist, patriot, legislator, and all-around American historical icon Benjamin Franklin decided to donate some of his favorite books to the Franklin townsfolk in 1778, in appreciation of the locals naming their town after him. Imagine that, a founding father showing gratitude towards a little New England town, that couldn't hold a colonial candle, historically, to nearby Boston, Lexington and Concord!

In 1790, the books found a home as town meeting members voted to lend books to residents free of charge, thus creating the first public library in the United States. To this very day, you can see the collection, housed in an antique wooden cabinet.  

Although not in its original site, the current Franklin Public Library -- along with the H.H. Richardson-designed Ames Free Public Library in Easton, MA -- serves as two of the most impressive pieces of library architecture in suburban Boston.  The 1904 four-floor building has a Greek temple look with pink granite and Ionic and Doric columns, and interior features including granite, marble staircases and frescoed walls. The variety of books at the Franklin Public Library, is more impressive than most area libraries, helping make this a wonderful destination for locals who love to read, and for those with an affinity for our nation's history.  

Franklin Public Library
118 Main St., Franklin, MA 
Tel. (508) 520-4940


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