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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Athol Public Library, old Carnegie building

Athol's Carnegie building.1

Library construction:
In 1902, the town of Athol formally accepted Andrew Carnegie’s offer of $15,000 for the construction of a library building under the guarantee of ongoing town support.2

The Town of Athol received a grant award from the Board of Library Commissioners totaling $4,752,147 in July 2011 to renovate and expand its Carnegie library building with an estimated total cost of $8,601,300. The project broke ground in October 2012 and celebrated the rededication of the library at its reopening in January 2014.

Athol Public Library, new building dedicated January 2015

Athol's revamped building, dedicated January 25, 2014.3

Athol Public Library became the first public library in the Commonwealth to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) platinum certification, the highest level possible.

Library and school cooperation:
The 1902 annual report acknowledged the solidifying "natural bond between the public library and the public schools."

"The interest and effort in all the broader aspects of library work has never been so widespread and effective as at the present time. The libraries and schools are gaining help, each from the other, and all for the general intellectual advancement of the people."2

Today, with statewide services available through the Massachusetts Library System (MLS), public and school libraries continue to work cooperatively and collaboratively. They benefit from advisory and delivery services, materials and supply cooperatives, participate in continuing education classes, and utilize statewide resources such as research database collections.

What else happened in 1902?

  • In June, writer Edith Wharton built her new home, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. By 1900, Lenox was the summer destination of choice for New York’s wealthiest families.4

1. Digital Commonwealth [link].
2. Thirteenth Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts, 1903.
3. MBLC on Flickr [link to Athol grand reopening album].
4. [link].