The James Blackstone Memorial Library provides essential access to information, resources and unique shared experiences to help ensure Branford is an educated and enriched community.
The Library was dedicated on June 17, 1896. Built in honor of James Blackstone, a longtime Branford resident, the library’s construction was funded by James’ son, Timothy Beach Blackstone. In addition to the $300,000 cost of the building, Timothy gave an endowment of $300,000 and a collection of 5,000 books. Constructed of white Tennessee marble, the library was designed by architect Solon S. Beman of Chicago; the mural decorations in the dome representing the history of bookmaking and the portraits (in clockwise order) of New England authors Stowe, Lowell, Holmes, Whittier, Longfellow, Hawthorne, Emerson and Bryant were painted by Oliver D. Grover. More…
Your Blackstone library card can be used at any Connecticut public library. If the library is in the LION system, you are already registered. When visiting a non-LION library, bring your up-to-date Blackstone card and photo ID in order to be registered into the system.
To obtain a free Blackstone library card, you must be a Branford resident. You can pre-register online or come to the library with your photo ID and proof of residency to any check-out desk and get your card made while you wait. Stony Creek residents should obtain a card from the Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library.
Library patrons from other Connecticut towns may use their cards to borrow materials and use computers and databases in-house, but will not have access to downloadable books or databases from home—check with your hometown library for access to these services.
- 2 days for Museum Passes
- 3 days for Hot Reels DVDs
- 7 days for DVDs, Hot Pick Books and Rokus
- 21 days for Books/New Books/CDs/Magazines/Nonfiction DVDs/Holiday Books/Sewing Machines/Telescope
Branford residents may also request up to 6 items each month from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Most items may be renewed except for Museum Passes, Hot Reels and Hot Picks. You may renew online, in person or by calling 203.488.144. ext. 318.
Fines & Fees
Blackstone Library is fine free for Blackstone-owned items. The library will still have due dates and will automatically extend renewals if there are no holds on an item. If an item is lost or damaged, a replacement fee will be added to your account.
There are also no late fees for downloadable items since they are returned automatically. Please note that other libraries have different fine schedules and you will be responsible for those fines if your items are returned late.
25 public computers/laptops with Internet access, Microsoft Office 2019 and free WIFI access throughout the building. A scanner is available for public use. Prints and photocopies are 25¢ for black & white and 50¢ for color. The Reference librarians can send a fax for you; the cost is $1.00 per page, with a maximum of $5.00. We are unable to receive faxes for patrons at this time. We also have a Library of Things; many items can be checked out; others can be used while in the library. Click here to learn more.
Studying and Small Meetings
The Lucy T. Hammer room is available for individuals and small groups (up to 12) and can be reserved at no charge for two hours a day. The Conference Room is also available for groups up to 20 people. Please stop by or call the Reference department at 203.488.1441, ext. 318 to reserve the room. There are also a number of study tables available in the reading room. If you need a larger space, please read about reserving space at the library.
The Library Museum
The rooms on the upper floor which once displayed historical items were repurposed for children’s space in 1996. Many of the items previously housed there are located at the Branford Historical Society and the bird collection can be found in Westport at Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center. The arrowhead collection is still displayed at the library, in the Lucy T. Hammer Room.