History of the Farms Branch Library

Public library service in Beverly Farms began as a delivery service in 1875. Established by Louisa Loring and housed in the Loring family home in Prides Crossing, books were delivered every Saturday to local children. In 1880 Sarah Wyman Whitman founded the Neighbor’s Library in a rented space near the center of town; and in 1884 the Loring library was added to it. After a new fire station was built the Neighbor’s Library moved to the first floor of the old station. Although the town would not support an official Farms branch, it did  agree to provide semi-weekly delivery service from the main library, consisting of two crates of books sent to Liffin’s Store on West Street.

In 1893, an official branch of the Beverly Public Library at Beverly Farms was finally established with the Neighbor’s Library of 1,700 volumes as the core collection. Staffed by one librarian, Sylvia Bennet, the branch received four deliveries per week from the main library and was open from 3 to 9 PM, with an hour break for supper.

In 1916, the current branch library was opened to the public on land donated by the Loring sisters, Katherine and Louisa, on the condition that the city buy the two lots on Hale Street for a public park to honor their parents. The building was designed by the sisters’ cousin, Charles Greeley Loring of Loring and Leland. In 2004, the city of Beverly, with the financial support of many Farms residents and a grant from the state, renovated and expanded the branch to meet the growing needs of the community.The Beverly Farms Branch Library has many special features including the desk of Farms poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. donated in 1899 by his son, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and a collection of the works of Farms resident and writer John Updike as well as many books of local history.