In 1825, through the suggestion of the Rev. Andrew Bigelow, a social library was formed in Medford, ‘promotive of good morals,’ and ‘to aid in the diffusion of valuable information.’ This was merged into a free public library in 1856, through the generosity of the stockholders, and was added to from time to time by gifts from private citizens. This library was useful to those who knew how to take advantage of its privileges, but it was not until the advent of Miss Mary Sargent and her sister, in 1891, that it became a power in the daily life of the community. Since that time good books have been put directly into the public schools, the age limit of use of the library has been abolished, a children's department has been organized, the public has been admitted to the stack room to make choice of books, special students have been assisted in all possible ways, books relating to current events have been listed at appropriate times, wise counsel given to readers by helpful word and suggestive bulletins, educational exhibits in art, handicraft, domestic science and other human activities have been given at frequent intervals. Through their wisdom and diligence the library has become an actual possession of, and a liberal education to, the people of Medford. It has aided and supplemented the work of church and school and formed another uplifting incentive to high endeavor. The collection and arrangement of books written by people who have lived in Medford was one of the many valuable and unsought services Miss Sargent gave the library. This bookcase of Medford authors has since been catalogued and found to contain over two hundred volumes, representing seventy-nine writers, exclusive of the fourteen volumes of the Medford Historical Register and its many contributors. Medford has added few great names to the history of literature, but is unique in having
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