Governance of Public Libraries, March 2005 (Volume 8, Number 2)

On the FY2005 Annual Report Information Survey (ARIS), public library directors were asked: (1) about the governance of the library, (2) when the library was established and (3) who owns the permanent main public library building.

Library directors were asked to identify the library's governance in one of three ways. 1) As a city library: The library may have been formed by a city on its own initiative. It is governed as specified in the charter of the municipality or by special acts of the state legislature. Funding is provided through state and local appropriations. (c.78, s.7; c.43B). 2) As a town library: The library may have been established by resolution of the town governing body. It is governed by a board of trustees who may be elected, appointed, self-perpetuating or ex officio. (c.78, s.7 & s.10; c.43B). 3) As a corporation/association library: The library was established as a non-profit library corporation, usually in conjunction with a will, deed or bequest to provide free library services to the public. Governance is set out in the original instrument or articles of incorporation. This library may receive state, local and private funding. In many cases some funding is also derived from the original endowment. (C.78, s.1; c180, ss.1-4).

In 1997, when asked about library governance, directors of 67 independent public libraries in 51 municipalities identified their libraries as being corporation/association libraries. Of the 370 public library directors surveyed in 2004, 70 independent libraries in 55 municipalities were identified as corporation/association libraries, (eight did not respond).

ACTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY
AYER PUBLIC LIBRARY
BARNSTABLE:
--CENTERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
--COTUIT LIBRARY
--HYANNIS PUBLIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
--MARSTONS MILLS PUBLIC LIBRARY
--OSTERVILLE FREE LIBRARY
--STURGIS LIBRARY
--WHELDEN MEMORIAL LIBRARY
BECKET ATHENEUM, INC.
BELCHERTOWN: CLAPP MEMORIAL LIBRARY
BREWSTER LADIES' LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
BUCKLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
CHATHAM:
--ELDREDGE PUBLIC LIBRARY
--SO. CHATHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
CHESHIRE PUBLIC LIBRARY
CONCORD FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
DENNIS:
--DENNIS MEMORIAL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
--JACOB SEARS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
--SOUTH DENNIS PUBLIC LIBRARY
--WEST DENNIS FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
EASTHAMPTON: EMILY WILLISTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM
AMES FREE LIBRARY OF EASTON, INC.
FAIRHAVEN: MILLICENT LIBRARY
FALMOUTH:
--WEST FALMOUTH LIBRARY, INC.
--WOODS HOLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
GARDNER: LEVI HEYWOOD MEMORIAL LIBRARY
GLOUCESTER LYCEUM & SAWYER FREE LIBRARY
HARDWICK: GILBERTVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
HARWICH:
--CHASE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
--HARWICH PORT LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
HAVERHILL PUBLIC LIBRARY
HINGHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
HINSDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY
HOLYOKE PUBLIC LIBRARY
HOPKINTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
LEE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
LENOX LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
LONGMEADOW: RICHARD SALTER STORRS LIBRARY
MALDEN PUBLIC LIBRARY
MARION: ELIZABETH TABER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
METHUEN: NEVINS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
MONSON FREE LIBRARY & READING ROOM ASSOCIATION
NANTUCKET ATHENEUM
NATICK:
--BACON FREE LIBRARY
--MORSE INSTITUTE LIBRARY
NORTHAMPTON:
--FORBES LIBRARY
--LILLY LIBRARY
NORTHBRIDGE: WHITINSVILLE SOCIAL LIBRARY
NORTHFIELD: FIELD LIBRARY
NORTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
OTIS LIBRARY & MUSEUM
PALMER PUBLIC LIBRARY
PERU LIBRARY
PETERSHAM MEMORIAL LIBRARY
PLYMPTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
RANDOLPH: TURNER FREE LIBRARY
RAYNHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
REHOBOTH: BLANDING FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY
SAVOY HOLLOW LIBRARY
SHELBURNE: ARMS LIBRARY
SOUTH HADLEY: GAYLORD MEMORIAL LIBRARY
STOCKBRIDGE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
WARE: YOUNG MEN'S LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
WARREN PUBLIC LIBRARY
WARREN: WEST WARREN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
WESTFIELD ATHENAEUM
WOBURN PUBLIC LIBRARY
WORTHINGTON LIBRARY

On the 2004 survey, 54 libraries indicated that the main independent library facility in their city or town was owned by a corporation or association. nine indicated that the facilities were owned by an entity other than a corporation or association, or the municipality, (six did not respond).

AMHERST: JONES LIBRARY INC.
AYER PUBLIC LIBRARY
BARNSTABLE:
--CENTERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
--COTUIT LIBRARY
--HYANNIS PUBLIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
--MARSTONS MILLS PUBLIC LIBRARY
--OSTERVILLE FREE LIBRARY
--STURGIS LIBRARY
--WHELDEN MEMORIAL LIBRARY
BARRE: WOODS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
BECKET ATHENAEUM, INC.
BELCHERTOWN: CLAPP MEMORIAL LIBRARY
BUCKLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
CHATHAM: SO. CHATHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
CONCORD FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
DENNIS:
--DENNIS MEMORIAL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
--JACOB SEARS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
--SOUTH DENNIS PUBLIC LIBRARY
--WEST DENNIS FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
EASTHAMPTON: EMILY WILLISTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM
AMES FREE LIBRARY OF EASTON, INC.
FALMOUTH:
--WEST FALMOUTH LIBRARY, INC.
--WOODS HOLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
GARDNER: LEVI HEYWOOD MEMORIAL LIBRARY
GLOUCESTER LYCEUM & SAWYER FREE LIBRARY
HARDWICK: GILBERTVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
HARWICH PORT LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
HAVERHILL PUBLIC LIBRARY
HINSDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY
HOLYOKE PUBLIC LIBRARY
HOPKINTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
LENOX LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
MALDEN PUBLIC LIBRARY
METHUEN: NEVINS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
MONSON FREE LIBRARY & READING ROOM ASSOCIATION
NANTUCKET ATHENEUM
NATICK: BACON FREE LIBRARY
NORTHAMPTON:
--FORBES LIBRARY
--LILLY LIBRARY
NORTHBRIDGE: WHITINSVILLE SOCIAL LIBRARY
PERU LIBRARY
PETERSHAM MEMORIAL LIBRARY
PLYMPTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
RAYNHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
REHOBOTH FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY
SOUTH HADLEY: GAYLORD MEMORIAL LIBRARY
SPRINGFIELD CITY LIBRARY
STOCKBRIDGE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
WARE: YOUNG MEN'S LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
WARREN PUBLIC LIBRARY
WESTFIELD AHTENAEUM
WOBURN PUBLIC LIBRARY
WORTHINGTON LIBRARY

Of the 364 responses received, three directors indicated that their libraries were established before 1800. The Franklin Public Library was established in 1790, the Stevens Memorial Library in Ashburnham was established in 1793 and the Rowe Town Library was established in 1797. Of the remaining 361 public libraries, 297 were established prior to 1900. The most recent public library to be 'birthed' in Massachusetts is the joint Hamilton-Wenham Public Library; it came into being in 2001.

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