It is constructed of a distinctive buff-colored brick in the Beaux Arts style. William McKinley laid the cornerstone of the building on September 25, 1897, during his first visit to Adams as President of the United States. The library opened to the public on January 2, 1899.
The memorial library building was originally constructed to serve three purposes: to house the public library, to serve as a Civil War Memorial and to be a meeting place for the Civil War veterans association in Adams. The veterans’ group was called the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) George E. Sayles Post 126 and their meeting rooms were located on the second floor above the library. Their hall remains in its original condition with the chairs once occupied by Civil War veterans. Today the G.A.R. Memorial Hall serves as the location for special events and programs. It may be viewed by signing in at the main desk and taking a brochure that serves as a self-guided tour.
The library offers an extensive collection of books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, audio books, eBooks, eAudio and free or reduced rate passes to area museums. The newspaper collection, stored on microfilm, dates back to 1844. A genealogical collection is available, which includes the set of Mayflower descendants, the vital records of Rhode Island and other genealogical information.
The library is a member of the Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing (C/W MARS) System. As a member, our patrons have access to materials at all libraries within this network. These materials are delivered in cooperation with the Massachusetts Library System.
Being a member of the Massachusetts Library System, allows us to participate in their inter-library loan program. This program allows our patrons access to books and other materials from participating libraries beyond the C/W MARS network and across the country. Extensive databases and online educational programs are also provided through this membership.
At the Library, both adults and children are provided free access to wireless service and Internet computers.
Annual summer reading programs are offered to both children and adults, as well as book discussion groups, special programs and Preschool story times throughout the year.
The building was extensively renovated in 2014 to make it fully accessible while maintaining its historic and architectural integrity.
The Adams Historical Society has a gallery in the auxiliary entrance hall, to the right of the main desk, where they display rotating exhibits of local historical topics.