Tuesdays 10 to 5

Here in Four Corners history stays sealed in the rock walls and rooftops, and the Union Public Library is no exception. The library is the second oldest in the state, started in 1829 by a small group of proprietary men hoping to establish a society of like-minded members for a small fee of $5. The original 24-page constitution for this “social library” outlined strict  guidelines for membership: “Only those of good moral character need apply,” and “only such books as relate to history, biography, philosophy, theology, chemistry, and poetry” were allowed. No politically unbalanced books, no fiction, and absolutely no members that didn’t fit the above description–which was agreed upon by a two-thirds vote by existing members. With 500 books in 1889, the library slowly evolved toward less exclusive membership, and a generous outpouring of literature ensued.

Although the building has gone through significant renovation, it retains the authentic small-town look and feel. Three sparkling rooms are filled with sunlight and over 62,000 titles, making the experience feel like somewhat of a treasure hunt for the imagination. A recently added children’s room beckons young readers to browse, sit on the floor, and find something to dip their eyes into the old-fashioned way. The small library also offers an enchanting reference room full of deep local history that would make any history buff’s heart skip a beat.

The Union Library is funded by individual and state grants, and is part of the Ocean State Libraries’ Circulatory. They offer wi-fi, discounted museum passes, audio-books, DVDs, and a outdoor drop box for returns. As book bindings, textures, smells, and piles-by-the-bed are intercepted by faster, sleeker technologies, borrowing from this library holds fast the same virtuous atmosphere of its roots. Libraries like this one are a treasure.

Business in Tiverton Four Corners have relaxed into the winter months, but the Union Public Library stays open its usual hours: Tuesdays 10-5 and Saturdays 10-1; a smiling comfort to those who look for a cozy place to spend a cold winter morning.

 


One Response

  1. Gayle Lawrence says:

    Thank you for this thoroughly enjoyable and informative article about the Union Library. It certainly is a treasure.

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