The Essex Library Association: A Brief History
The Essex Library Association: A Brief History, an exhibit of photos and documents from our archives.
The Essex Library Association was launched in 1889 by Dr. Willis Russell. Russell’s office was on Essex Square, in the building currently occupied by Talbot’s. Starting with a small collection of his own books, Russell opened the second floor of his building as a lending library for residents. Borrowing privileges were available for a small fee of $1.00 per year (equivalent to about $27 today). Donations of other books soon followed, and by the late 1890s the library housed hundreds of books.
Essex resident Captain Joseph Tucker bequeathed three paintings to the library in 1897, along with a donation of $5,000 (worth $150,000 today). The donation paid for construction of a new permanent home for the library at 3 South Main Street. In 1924 the library began to receive support from the Town of Essex. In exchange, all residents began to enjoy free borrowing privileges. Organized as an association library, today’s annual membership gifts of $35/person permit voting rights at the annual meeting, where the association’s Board of Trustees is elected. In 1980, the library moved to our present location at 33 West Avenue. An expansion and renovation to the original structure was completed in 2006.
Please enjoy some of the documents and photos from our past, just one chapter in the story of Essex.
To navigate this exhibit, either click the links on the right sidebar of the page or scroll to the bottom and click the → arrow links .