Nestled into Newburyport's south end, the historic Emma L. Andrews Library is one of Newburyport's hidden gems.

The book and periodicals collection of our independent, volunteer-run lending library is constantly being updated. We offer new releases and classics, books by local authors, and a variety of children's and young adult favorites. We collaborate with other local organizations and presenters to offer a wide range of programs. Ongoing activities include book clubs, author series, poetry slams, writers' groups, yoga, knitting, children's crafts, tween groups, watercolor classes and story hours.


In 1886, Principal Anna L. Coffin and teacher Emma M. Landers wanted to start a children's library in the Johnson Grammar School. As school libraries were not the norm, the two women proposed a branch library that would reach more of Newburyport's Ward One children than could be served through the school. The city proposed a library in 1899, but was unable to fund the effort.

A branch library that would reach more of Newburyport's Ward One children

Citizens donated $52.00 to establish a reading room at 17 Union Street, a house recently vacated by members of the Gun Club. The South End Reading Room Association was formed on January 1, 1900 with Emma Landers acting as secretary. That year the Library circulated 5,023 books to 303 registered borrowers.

Building Dedication

From 1900 through 1905, the Association continued raising funds for the purpose of establishing a permanent site. By February of 1905, William T. Humphrey's house at 77 Purchase Street was purchased for $3,500. This building was dedicated on July 20, 1905 and still serves as the Library's home.

Throughout the years, Mrs. Charles Andrews, nee Emma Lander, remained a stalwart supporter, serving as secretary of the Association and supervisor of the library's staff. She passed away on July 11, 1928 and the Library was renamed in her honor. It was officially made a branch of the Newburyport Public Library in 1931 and was turned over to the city at that time with the stipulation that the building be maintained as a branch of the Newburyport Public Library.

history of the library

Founded in 1886 as a lending library and a local activities center for adults and youth greater Newburyport, MA.

Newburyport schoolteacher Emma Andrews (Landers) proposes a lending library to serve the children of Newburyport's South End.

Locals donate $52 to establish a local reading room.

Library Association purchases a Victorian house at 77 Purchase Street for $3,500

The Emma L. Andrews Library & Community Center is dedicated and named for its founder.

The "Emma" continues to offer programs and reading opportunities for adults, teens, and children.

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