Building on the far-sighted founding of the James Blackstone Memorial Library, we continue to expand our legacy of engaging community, expanding minds, and enriching lives with a commitment to addressing community needs and supporting each individual’s journey towards lifelong learning, continued well-being, and personal growth.
The James Blackstone Memorial Library inspires and enriches curious minds, welcomes and connects community to community, and helps our community learn, succeed, and thrive by providing essential access to information, resources, and unique shared experiences.
Read the library’s Strategic Framework here.
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.
- 1 day for Museum Passes
- 1 week for DVDs
- 2 weeks for Library of Things items, Friends Quick Picks
- 3 weeks for Books/New Books/CDs/Magazines/Nonfiction DVDs/Holiday Books
Branford residents may also request up to 5 items each month from other non-LION libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Most items may be renewed except for Museum Passes. You may renew online, in person or by calling 203.488.1441 ext. 318.
Fines & Fees
Blackstone Library is fine free for Blackstone-owned items. The library’s items will still have due dates and will automatically renew twice 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.