| The Acton Public
founded in 1854
In 1854, forty women of the town of Old Saybrook each contributed $1 towards a book-purchasing fund and formed a reading room, adopting the name; Ladies Circulating Library. The operation was placed in charge of Miss Hotchkiss, the Librarian. In 1865, the collection of 500 books was moved to the home of Librarian, Harriet Willard on Pennywise Lane.
In 1870, the collection, grown to 800 volumes, was moved to the building now known as the Masonic Temple, owned by Thomas Acton. In 1872, having outgrown the Temple, the Library was moved to 40 Old Boston Post Road, a building deeded to the town by Mr. Acton. Books were loaned for 6 cents each.
In 1904, the town agreed to underwrite book fees and expenses, and Acton Public Library became free to the inhabitants of Old Saybrook, under proper regulations. The Library remained at 40 Old Boston Post Road for 89 years. With each passing year, Old Saybrook grew, and use of the Library grew with it. Starting in 1950, the town experienced an increase in population, growing to the current population of 10,500, with an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 residents during the summer. In 1967 a new Library opened at 60 Old Boston Post Road.
In April 1997 the Acton Library Board of Directors reported to the Board of Selectmen that the current Library facility no longer met the needs of the community. A study determined that approximately 14,000 sq. ft. could be added to the existing 7,820 sq. ft.
In February 1999, the Town approved $2.4 million to expand and renovate. A State Construction Grant was awarded. A major boost to fundraising was provided by a $1,000,000 challenge grant donated by residents William and Ruby Tucker, which matched every private donation. This, with the help of the Friends of the Library, raised the remainder of the funds needed. A major highlight of the Library is the 25' long and 5' high ceramic tile mural, "Tides of Time", that depicts the history of Old Saybrook. The tile above depicts Thomas Acton and the 40 Old Boston Post Road library. Town residents donated the tiles in this wall in celebration of their community heritage.