History of the Library

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.

— Ray Bradbury

Hopkinton Public Library was incorporated on May 26, 1890. At the dedication of the new library building on January 1, 1895, Secretary of the Library Committee, Mary C. Holman, declared that John Quincy Adams of Wheaton, IL (formerly of Hopkinton), challenged the community by “offering to give $4,000 towards the cost of a library building – provided [residents] would raise an additional $10,000, and have a building up and covered within two years.” Ms. Holman proclaimed that “within 24 hours after receipt of Mr. Adam’s proposal we had more than one half the amount required to make his pledge available.”

The original donors of the library and the amounts donated include:

Mr. John Quincy Adams $4,000 Wheaton, IL
Mr. James Adams Woolson $2,500 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Nathan Parker Coburn $2,500 Newton, MA
Mr. Augustus N. Woolson $500 Watertown, CT
Mrs. Abram Crooks $1,400 Hopkinton, MA
Mrs. Samuel Crooks $1,000 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Isaac B. Phipps $100 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Alfred Hemenway $500 Boston, MA
Mr. Alonzo Coburn $250 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Cromwell McFarland $250 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Lowell B. Maybry $250 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Charles L. Claflin $250 Hopkinton, MA
Mr. Oliver B. Root $250 Hopkinton, MA
Miss Mary E. Putnam $125 Hopkinton, MA
Mrs. Martin V. Phipps $125 Hopkinton, MA
Total $14,000
Ms. Sarah E. Whitin Lot for building Whitinsville, MA

The Library was funded by such private donations until 1955 when the Town began appropriating public funds for expenses and the purchase of books. Soon after, the Library Trustees acquired the adjacent Episcopal Church, a structure dating from the 1890s. In 1967, a gallery was built to connect the original Library building to the Church, increasing the size of the library to a total of 5,783 square feet. At the time, the population of Hopkinton was 5,659 people. The Library has not been renovated or expanded since that time.

After over 100 years and only the one addition to the original structure in 1967, Hopkinton Public Library is at a crossroads. Constrained by inadequate space for its programs, technology and collections, and bursting at the seams with users of all ages, the library needs the same vision and leadership of the Library’s original donors to advance Hopkinton Public Library from its proud history into the future.