HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY
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 V.I.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.
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.
By 2000, the library's annual circulation soared to over 100,000 items and the building no longer provided enough space for the collection, nor seating for the public. As a result, the Trustees and townspeople decided to build a new Library.
In 2011, the Library received a construction grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners that was matched by Town Meeting appropriation. Construction of the new library on the original site began in the fall of 2014. The new Library opened on November 15, 2016.
Over the years, many groups and individuals have contributed to making the Library the best it can be. When the new Library opened, the Trustees agreed to name the large meeting room in honor of Gregory S. Turner because of the bequest from his estate in 2003 which provided the funding for the Library to be prepared when the library moved up in place on the State construction funding waiting list.