In her 1976 History of the Eastham Public Library, Helen B. Schwind wrote that the library was “Created by townspeople out of a desire to enrich their lives, and to aid in educating their children.” The “creation” took place at a town meeting on February 11, 1878, when $175 was appropriated for a library. Initially, the library was a room over the general store owned by George H. Clark that also housed the Post Office. The building was on Samoset Road, west of the railroad tracks.
In 1887, William H. Nickerson gave land at the present site to the Village Improvement Society (V.I.S.) whose members had raised funds to build a separate library. By November 1897, the library had been built and leased to the town by the VI.S. (Their initials are still found over the entrance to the present building.) On January 8, 1898, the trustees opened the building to the public.
The year 1903 was an important year for the library. The V.I.S. sold the library to the town for one dollar; the town received $1000 from the will of Robert C. Billings “for the purposes of the Public Library … “, and $14,000 from the same will to establish a permanent fund for the library.
Between 1890 and 1960 the population of Eastham not only doubled (from 602 to 1200), but its annual library circulation increased nearly twenty- fold (from 715 to 12,648), while its collection grew from 864 to 6,200 volumes. By 1970, the circulation of its 11,400 volumes had risen to nearly 20,000. This growth prompted two major additions to the library-the first in 1961 and the second in 1988.
Not too long after the turn of the century, it became clear another renovation was needed. After years of planning, ground was broken for a new building in 2014. The renovation was completed in November 2016, and the grant opening occurred in February 2017.
Today, the library’s shelves hold more than 52,000 items, in a collection that includes books, magazines, DVDs, music, spoken word recordings, puzzles, and videogames. It continues to serve the citizens of Eastham well while attracting people from other Massachusetts towns as well as many out-of-state residents during the summer. Annual circulation has soared over 127,000 since 2022.
The new Library opened on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 at 10 AM with a ribbon cutting. The Dedication Ceremony was held on Saturday, February 4th. A week long celebration followed. Enjoy the video of the Dedication Ceremony with many speakers and a performance from the Nauset High School Treble Chorus.
The Library has LEED GOLD Certification. Learn more about the Library’s LEED certification.
Learn about Rain Gardens
This page is in development – more to come!
Plans and Powerpoint Presentations
Highlighting the Children’s Room and Pond Theme… February 27, 2016 FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) Meeting with Oudens Ello Project Manager Joelle Szerdi. This power point presenation shows room by room the color and furniture selections for each room.
February 2, 2016 FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) Meeting with Architect Matt Oudens and Oudens Ello Project Manager Joelle Szerdi
Project Update (Friends of the Library Annual Meeting) with Architect Matt Oudens and Owners Project Manager Dan Palotta
Watch our Videos
View architect Oudens Ello May 29th PowerPoint presentation showing lighting, parking, book return location, generator coverage, lighting, LEED analysis, cost estimate and more.
April 2, 2014 Presentation for the Project Meeting with the Building Committee and Oudens Ello Architect
October 16, 2013 Presentation showing renderings of interior and exterior views.
Includes information about our ponds
Eastham Water Management Committee Report: