Library History

Uxbridge has a long tradition of library service. The Uxbridge Social and Instructive Library was organized in 1775 as a storefront subscription library. In 1812 the Uxbridge Second Social Library succeeded the original. The Uxbridge Library Association was founded in 1828 and eventually offered its collection to the town with the proviso that a free public library be supported. The town accepted the offer on April 6, 1874, and with the approval of voters, six trustees were elected. The dog fund, which provided $275 in library support, was then appropriated, and the Uxbridge Free Public Library opened to the public on January 20, 1875 in the F.W. Barnes jewelry store, where it was housed for fourteen years. The Library collection consisted of both the Uxbridge Library Association and the Uxbridge Agricultural Library Association holdings.

By the early 1890s, it was clear that a more commodious building was necessary for community members. In 1893 Mr. Edward Carrington Thayer of Keene, New Hampshire (a native of Uxbridge) drafted a letter to the town proposing to build and donate a library to the town in memory of his parents. His conditions for the maintenance and use of the building were met with unanimous approval. Mr. Thayer’s stipulations form the basis of the library’s current by-laws. In 1894, a little over a year after the town meeting ratification, the town had a beautifully furnished new library building.

In 1965 a children’s room was added in the basement and then expanded in 1980 and 1996 to accommodate patron use and holdings. In 2007 due to an increased interest from young adults the basement was again renovated to provide a space for teens. This new room was dedicated to Ruth Voss, a former trustee, school librarian, and active preservationist.