compel the taxpayers to devote their money to the buying of books and the support of a town library.
It was finally decided that it should be optional with the individual citizens to pay the required tax, and with this understanding the library was opened to the public in August, 1850.
In 1851 the Rev. John B. Wight, Wayland's Representative in the Legislature, introduced a bill authorizing any town to establish and maintain for its citizens a public library.
This bill became a law in May, 1851.
This law, which was restrictive as to the amount of money the town might raise for the support of its public library, was followed by similar ones of a more liberal tendency, until in 1866 a law was passed removing the restrictions as to money and permitting the towns to appropriate what they saw fit for the support of their libraries.
Thenceforward the laws passed tended to foster and protect the public library by imposing fines for those persons who wilfully defaced or destroyed the b