The Newburyport Public Library offers a full range of services to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the greater Newburyport community within a renovated and expanded historic 18th century Federalist mansion. The Library is a vital and integral part of the community, providing the public with a fully accessible 21st century facility. Our friendly and professional staff is eager to serve you. Welcome to the Newburyport Public Library!
The Newburyport Public Library is a full member of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), a network of 36 area libraries. Through resource sharing, Newburyport library cardholders have access to over 3 million items owned by member MVLC libraries. Library staff can assist in locating and requesting materials from other Massachusetts libraries as well as out-of-state libraries when needed.
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Newburyport Public Library is a community hub that inspires and empowers all to access knowledge, culture and social connections.
Newburyport was one of the first ten communities in Massachusetts to establish a public library after the passage in 1851 of a general law permitting towns throughout the Commonwealth to establish and maintain public libraries through municipal taxation. The Newburyport Public Library was founded in 1854, and opened to the public in 1855 in what is now the office of the City Treasurer in City Hall. The library opened with 5,688 volumes on its shelves.
In order to provide more space for the expanding library, eight local subscribers purchased the Tracy Mansion on State Street and conveyed the property to the city to be used in perpetuity as a public library. The Library relocated to the Tracy Mansion in 1865 and opened to the public there on January 1, 1866. This historic brick building was built in 1771 for Nathaniel Tracy, a wealthy local merchant and ship owner. Nathaniel Tracy was an ardent patriot and a successful privateer during the Revolutionary War. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Aaron Burr, and General Lafayette all were entertained in the Tracy Mansion. Tracy lost his fortune after the war and was forced to sell his assets, including his home. Before its transition to a public library, the Tracy Mansion was used as a hotel, a bowling saloon, and a dentist office.
In 1870, one of the first public newspaper reading rooms in the United States was established by the Newburyport Public Library. A two–story addition, the Simpson Annex, was constructed in 1881, and the Library's exterior and portions of the interior were renovated in the Victorian style during the 1880's.
In 1900, the stacks were opened, allowing patrons to browse and retrieve books independently. The 1920s brought the creation of a separate Reference Department and a Children's Room. The Friends of the Newburyport Public Library organization was founded in 1939 and is an important support to the Library today. The 1968 membership in the state's fledgling regional library system was a precursor to the Library's current membership in the Massachusetts Library System (MLS). Public computers were introduced in 1985 and the Library became an active member of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium.
By the early 1990’s the need for a larger and improved facility became evident. After a successful community effort, the Library moved forward with a $6.8m building project to renovate and expand the Tracy Mansion. In October 1999, the Library moved to a temporary location, the Anvil Rock Farm in the industrial park, providing library services during construction. With great anticipation, the newly renovated and expanded facility at 94 State Street reopened on May 6, 2001. The Newburyport Public Library continues in its long and historic tradition of providing a wide range of library services to the community.
The Newburyport Public Library collection contains over 130,000 items.
A number of passes for free or reduced admission to area museums are available for public use. The Library also offers extensive online resources. Public computers offer access to the Internet, and Wireless Internet access is also available.
The Newburyport Public Library is committed to quality service to all, regardless of age, race, sex, nationality, educational background, physical limitations, or any criteria which may be a source of discrimination.
The Library is ADA compliant. If a library user cannot or does not wish to travel between levels, library staff will retrieve information or materials from any level.
Physically challenged library users have automated access to MVLC library collections through use of a public access online catalog on each level. If a library user cannot operate a computer, library staff will perform necessary functions as needed. Internet access is available on every level.
A second-floor public computer is available with a large screen monitor, built-in magnification tool, and screen reader software. A SmartView video magnifier (CCTV) is available on the third floor.
Hand-held magnifiers are available at the first floor Main Circulation Desk and second floor Information Services/Reference Desk.
The Library maintains a large audio collection of books on CD, Playaways (audio books in MP3 format), and downloadable audio books.
While patrons may not bring pets or animals into the Library, trained service animals and guide dogs are permitted.
The Library has a Nova Mack wheeled walker available in the library lobby for in-library use to facilitate browsing and gathering library materials.
Accessible restrooms are located on every level. All levels are accessible by elevator. An automated door opener is located at the main entrance. Designated handicap parking spaces are located next to the Library on State Street and on Harris Street.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Essex County Community Foundation and the Greater Newburyport Fund for the Blind in 2020, the library is equipped with additional accessibility aids for individuals with vision loss and blindness, including LED backlight large type keyboards, a portable text-to-speech document reader, standing full-spectrum adjustable reading lights, full-page 3x optical magnifiers, and portable CD-players for audio materials. Please inquire with library staff about use of these items.
The Library engages in a strategic planning process every four or five years. The completed plan is submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and an Action Plan is submitted yearly. The Newburyport Public Library Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2017 – 2020 is available HERE.
Curious how much the services the Library provides you would cost if you had to pay for them directly? To find out, calculate the value of YOUR library use! Learn how using the Chelmsford Library website.
Job postings and employment application forms are available at City Hall, 60 Pleasant Street and online through the City of Newburyport's website: http://www.cityofnewburyport.com. Employment applications are also available at the Library.