Haston Library

This Library Building Was Bequeathed
To the Town of Franklin By’
Elvira S. Haston
As a Permanent Reminder Of the Affectionate
Regard She Cherished For the Home of her early childhood and in commemoration
of this fact.
This Tablet is Erected

So reads the bronze tablet in the main entry of Haston Library. Elvira S. Haston died in North Broofield, Massachusetts in 1906. Incidently, North Brookfield also was bequeathed a library which bears the name Haston Library and is of the same design. In her will she left $12,297.16, including interest, to the Town of Franklin to build a public library. As a stipulation in her will, Charles W. Gates of Franklin, if he were living at the time,
was to supervise and control the building of this library.

At a special town meeting on March 18, 1907, the town accepted the bequest and C.W. Gates was the Agent for the building fund. William J. Towle, Charles W. Powell, and Arlin D. Horskin were elected to be on the building; committee. The site of the Haston Library was purchased in May 1907. What is now the Post Office building and rear barns were moved from the library site to their present location. Dr. J.B. Hall was the original owner of the land and buildings.

On October 17, 1908, a special town meeting was held to discharge the building committee. They had spent $10,880. The remaining $1,616.00 was invested with the
interest given to the trustees as support to purchase books and periodicals. At this same time, a motion was passed that the town be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the library and the salary of the librarian.

The Haston Library was originally built to house the Customs Inspector in the basement; a Reading Room, Selectmen’s Room and Children’s Room (one and the same) and Town Clerk’s Office on the first floor. The third floor was designated as the Historical Room. The latter was never used in an official capacity and basically was a storage area for many years.

In 1910, Charles W. Morgan became librarian and janitor of the building, a post which he held until his death in 1924. Mrs. Sturdevant, Mrs. Mae Gates, Miss Luna Pomèroy and Mrs. Neal Wright worked without pay; one each, on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and evenings until Mrs. Wright was hired at the rate of 15 cents per hour in 1933.

About 1927, Miss Luna Pomeroy, Miss Lou Fullington and Mrs. Mae Gates catalogued and classified the entire library under the Dewey Decimal System, free gratis, which required many weeks of work.

The following served as librarians:

1933-1939 Helen Wright
1940-1946 Ellen Towle
1947-1960 Helen Wright
Vera Riley 1961-1982
1982-present Susan Clark

It would be inappropriate not to mention some of the trustees who served so faithfully. Two special ladies should be mentioned: Mrs. Sophia Horskin and Mrs. Margaret Hubbard. Mrs. Horskin served on the board for 40 years and incidently held the position of treasurer during that time. Mrs. Hubbard served on the board for 30 years all of which she served as chairman. Mrs. Edith Shedd was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1932 and served until 1962.

In September of 1984 the third floor (originally designated for a historical room) was officially opened as the Children’s Room. The major renovation of the room was funded by Mr. & Mrs. Ross Clark. With addition of the new space, the Haston Library began an extensive program of children’s services.

Today the Haston Library not only provides preschool storyhours but summer programs for children, reading discussion groups for adults, home delivery to shut-ins and inter-library loans. It is the goal of the library to be the entertaining educational and cultural focal point in this community.

Susan Clark

Martha Hanna Towle. A History of Franklin 1789-1989. Franklin Historical Society, Haston Library Franklin, Vt. 1989

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