Many thousands of books have passed through the Blackstone Library’s collections over the years, but today we’re presenting you with one of the most special titles we own. It’s not the fanciest, not a classic or a best seller. It’s not the most valuable, the oldest book in the building, or even the first book we ever purchased. Today’s 125th Anniversary Fact is about the oldest recorded, continuously owned, book in the Blackstone Library’s collection–a monumental feat of endurance! It’s never been damaged beyond repair, lost, or needed to be replaced. For 124 years it has remained on the shelf for the people of Branford to use and enjoy. That book is…the 1897 Branford City Directory!
Some of you may remember our Accession Records from several Anniversary Facts ago. They are a running list of every title added to the collection dating back to 1897. This book is the first one listed in the earliest Accession Record book we have. Its internal book plate proclaims that it was added to the collection on the 29th of April in 1897, which matches the date in the Accession Records. Most importantly, the entry for the 1897 City Directory was never marked as “Condemned” — the word used to describe books that were removed from the collection for any reason. Every other title on the page was condemned, but not this little City Directory!
Now a part of our local history collection, the Branford City Directories are similar to phone books and list people and businesses located in town. They can be handy for genealogy, and are also just fun to look through. With the proper care and a little luck, this book should remain on the shelf for another 124 years.
In partnership with the Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance (BACA), the Blackstone Library invites artists to complete an application to exhibit their work in 2022. At least 3-4 examples of the artist’s work must be submitted with the application. The library is especially interested in working with artists who will consider combining an exhibit with an opportunity for a demonstration or discussion.
To help celebrate the Blackstone’s 125th anniversary, we’ve created a list of 125 books we love!
Blackstone staff members contributed titles to the list, which features books in a variety of genres. And to make things even more special, we turned it into a fun paper craft you can do to create your own mini-booklet and holder!
If you’re feeling artsy, check out our Blackstone Library coloring pages. Simply download and print to have some coloring fun! Read more…
In June of 1896, the Blackstone Library first opened its doors to the public. Since then, the library has provided essential access to resources, information, and unique shared experiences. This year, the James Blackstone Memorial Library is celebrating 125 years of engaging, informing, and empowering the Branford community.To mark this important milestone, the library has created two new library card designs, showcasing the history and beauty of the library building. These new limited-edition cards are now available to new and existing library card holders. Read more…
The adult collections can be browsed without an appointment.
Computers are available in the computer lab for one hour sessions (with an additional hour, if not busy) during library hours, no appointment necessary. We also have ten new laptops available for use in the library, on the terrace and on the grounds. A current library card, with no lost or billed items, is required to check out a laptop.
Face coverings are still required in the library when visiting the Children’s Department and for those individuals who are unvaccinated.
The Blackstone Library is currently open regular hours, Monday – Thursday 9 am – 8 pm, Friday & Saturday 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 4 pm.
Teen and Children’s shelves – If you would like to make an appointment to browse the Teen and Children’s Collections, please call 203-488-1441 x 321 to book a time slot. Otherwise, feel free to stop in and check with the staff at the Youth Services desk. Read more…
Awakening to Change is a lecture series designed to help unify our community by developing a shared understanding of the history, policy, and experiences shaping contemporary discussions of race. It was inspired by a conversation between Branford resident Roberta Gill-Brooks and former State Representative Lonnie Reed about growing up Black in Branford in July 2020. Read more…