Library History

The Acton Public Library
Founded in 1854

In 1854, forty women contributed $1 each towards a book fund and formed a reading room, called the; Ladies Circulating Library. The operation was run by Miss Hotchkiss, the Librarian. In 1865, the 500 book collection was moved to the home of Librarian, Harriet Willard on Pennywise Lane.

​In 1870, the 800 volumes, were moved to the building that later became the Masonic Temple, owned by Thomas Acton. In 1872, having outgrown the Temple, the Library moved to 40 Old Boston Post Road, a building deeded to the town by Mr. Acton. Books were loaned for 6 cents.

​In 1904, the town agreed to underwrite expenses, and Acton Public Library became free. The Library remained at 40 Old Boston Post Road for 89 years. As Old Saybrook grew, use of the Library grew with it. In 1950, the town increased in population, growing to the current population of 10,500, with 20,000 to 25,000 residents during the summer. In 1967 a new Library opened at 60 Old Boston Post Road.

In April 1997 the Board of Directors reported that the Library facility no longer met the community’s needs. A study determined that 14,000 sq. ft. could be added to the existing 7,820 sq. ft.

In February 1999, the Town approved $2.4 million to expand and renovate. A State Construction Grant was awarded. A major boost to fundraising was provided by a $1,000,000 challenge grant donated by William and Ruby Tucker, which matched every private donation. This, with the help of the Friends of the Library, raised the remainder of the funds.

A highlight of the Library is the 25′ by 5′ ceramic tile mural, “Tides of Time” that depicts the history of Old Saybrook. Town residents donated the tiles in celebration of their community heritage.