Our mission is to provide materials on multiple subjects as a means of enriching community life by making these resources available to all within the Community.

Photo of Laura E. Richards

In October 1937, 87 year old summer resident Laura E. Richards donated 15 books from her personal collection to form the beginning of the Georgetown Library. Her gift generated interest from other residents and about 300 more books were added and kept at the Town Hall. A Georgetown Library Association was formed and their first meeting was held at the Town Hall on Nov. 8, 1938. As the Library collection grew, the Town Hall became crowded and Trustees looked for another space.

After WWll, the Town consolidated all one room schoolhouses on the island with the building of the Georgetown Central School. When the new school was opened in 1948 the Library Trustees arranged to have an article placed on the Town Warrant authorizing the lease of the Red Brick Schoolhouse overlooking Robinhood Cove, to the Library Association. The article passed and the interior of the building was converted for library use; books and furniture were moved from cramped quarters in the Old Town Hall and the Library opened on Nov. 6, 1948. A decision to call the Library the Richards Library was made but the name was later changed to the Laura E. Richards Library to better honor Mrs. Richards’ generous donation.

Since then the Laura E. Richards Library has occupied the historic one-room Red Brick Schoolhouse as a seasonal library from May to mid-November in earlier years, but now closes for the winter at the end of October. A work room was added in 1991 and a driveway up the slope behind the library was completed later that year. Windows were replaced in 2002 along with some brickwork. The interior walls were also painted at that time.

During the winter of 2008 the ceiling was painted and when the librarian arrived at the Library to prepare for the 2009 season she discovered the floor had collapsed during the winter months. Extensive rehabilitation during the summer included reinforcing the shelves attached to the walls, installing new beams, floor joists and insulation before hardwood flooring was put in place. New adjustable oak bookcases were added to the center of the room. The Library did open for a very short season that year.

2013 saw the addition of a book drop box to allow returns 24/7 and a sign was placed on Library Lane.

In 2016 the work room was transformed by volunteers into our Mystery room. The exterior of the building was painted, the flagpole restored with lighting added and the steps leading up the banking to the library from the road were rebuilt.

The Library has historical photo scrapbooks available for patrons to view, which were all scanned in 2016.

The namesake of the Laura E. Richards Library was a celebrated author who summered in Georgetown. Laura was born in 1850 the daughter of famous parents. Her mother, Julia Ward Howe wrote ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and her father Samuel Gridley Howe founded Perkins Home For The Blind. Her best known book, Captain January, was made into a movie starring Shirley Temple. She also won the first Pulitzer Prize awarded for a Biography for her biography of her mother. Over 30 books written by Laura E. Richards are housed at the Georgetown Historical Society for safe keeping.

Board Members

  • Karen MacGillivary – Director
  • Susan Bean – Secretary
  • Betsy Cook – Treasurer
  • Clara Forkey
  • Rob Jarmusz
  • Susie Morissette
  • Lisa Sabatine