The Haverhill Public Library was established in 1873 in an agreement between wealthy industrialist E.J.M. Hale and the City of Haverhill. The agreement stipulated that Mr. Hale would donate land for a building site and half the money necessary to build and furnish a library if the people of Haverhill would donate the other half. He further stipulated that the City, in accepting this gift, would establish a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees and assume responsibility for the annual operating expenses of the library. The original library building opened on November 18, 1875. In 1965 the Trustees decided to build a new library facility to replace the original building. With pledges from the community, proceeds from the sale of the original building, a federal library construction grant, and the fundraising efforts of the Trustees and Friends of the Library, construction began in 1966 and the new library opened in June of 1969. A subsequent renovation project, completed in 1997, increased space for materials, seating, and overall size from 30,500 to 44,000 square feet.
The Haverhill Public Library is governed by a seven-member self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The City is responsible for funding the maintenance of library facilities and staff salaries. As the owners in trust of the Library, the Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the City lives up to its part of the agreement, as well as providing an annual appropriation of funds for the purchase of library materials and other services. Ultimately, the library’s Board of Trustees is responsible for the Library, its facilities and services, policies and procedures. Since the Library’s inception, a priority of the Board of Trustees has been the development of a Library Endowment, the interest from which is used to purchase materials and to supplement the City of Haverhill’s budget for the Library.
Founded in 1956, the Friends of the Haverhill Public Library has as its mission to raise funds for the library. The Friends Gift Shop, established in 1989, was one of the first gift shops in the area. The Friends also sponsor book sales to further support the Library, including an online sale that began in 2010.
The Haverhill Public Library is the institution in the City that connects our community to lifelong learning and enrichment.
The Haverhill Public Library serves as a focal point of our community, meeting the lifelong learning needs of all people. That Library provides exceptional service, materials, and programs to meet those informational, recreational, and cultural needs.