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Our History

The Heart of Our Community

Sarah Shedd was born in Washington on April 29th 1813.  She was well educated and had a love of nature which she expressed throughout her life in both prose and poetry.

Sarah’s father died when she was 15 and Sarah found work in the textile mills of Lowell, MA to help support her family. She spent her summers teaching in Washington.

A lifelong lover of books and literature, Sarah enjoyed reading and shared this love of books with her students. 

When she died at age 53 on April 5, 1867, her will instructed that all of her possessions be sold, and that the proceeds, $2,500, be used by the town to start a public library.

In 1869 the town voted to accept the bequest and  named the library the Shedd Free Library.  

The library opened on October 30, 1869 with 292 books. For many years the library existed in unused rooms of various buildings in town.

Our Building
In the spring of 1881, Mrs. Clara May Hurd quietly proposed to Mr. Lumen T. Jefts, of Hudson, Massachusetts, that he donate a permanent library building to the town.  Mr, Jefts accepted her proposal. The town agreed to pay for constructing the basement and foundation of the building and to maintain the building to be used for no other purpose than to house a library (and potentially a literary society). 

Mr. and Mrs. John Safford donated the land for the library building and S.S. Woodcock of Boston designed it.  Construction began at once.  The brick and stone building was dedicated on December 21, 1881.

The library collection grew, and by 1972 it was apparent that the building was no longer big enough.

 In April 1979, ground was broken for the long-awaited addition to the library.  The addition was formally dedicated to Preston Rolfe and the book room to Zaida Cilley on August 9, 1980, by the State Librarian.

The addition boasts a bathroom, workroom, and a basement archive room as well as additional shelf space for the continuously growing collection. 

Book Pages
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