Crawford Library Mission Statement
The Mission of the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library is to provide members of our diverse community with equal access to traditional and electronic media, programs, and exhibits that will encourage life-long learning, expand cultural horizons, facilitate research, and inspire curiosity.
About the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library
The library was instituted in Dudley In 1896, and the facility opened in 1897 in a first-floor room within the Chaseville School on Schofield Avenue with $300 worth of books.
In 1901, it moved into a new home at One Village Street – where it existed with one expansion in 1971 – until the move to the new building on Schofield Avenue, at the site of the former town hall, in June, 2010. (The lot and cement slab for the Village Street library were donated by Stevens Linen.)
In 1901, Dudley's population was just over 3600, and the Dudley Free Public Library – later renamed the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library – held 791 books. There were 287 library cardholders, and the circulation – that is the number of items checked out of the library in Fiscal Year 1901 – was 3,410.
Compare this to the new library where there are now over 30,000 items on our shelves, over 5600 cardholders and in Fiscal Year 2011, the library circulated 82,150 items.
This new library was the culmination of more than a decade of cooperation and teamwork that involved many members of our community and beyond.
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners awarded the Crawford Library a Library Construction Grant for $2.3 million; Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Crawford made a private donation of $2 million; the Dudley voters' provided their support at town meeting and at the ballot box through their vote for a $1.4 million debt exclusion; and our Capital Campaign committee worked diligently at fundraising donations and pledges that have totaling over $1 million.
The diligence of the Library Building Committee in overseeing the project resulted in surplus funds that are now part of the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library Endowment Fund that was established in 2011 through the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. These funds will help to maintain our library throughout the coming years.
Meet Pearle L. Crawford
Pearle Longley Crawford was both a strong member of the Dudley community and an impressive thinker and writer. Mrs. Crawford was a modern woman, having taught in public school and partnered with her husband in enterprises such as a hatchery and raising horses and collies.
Highly intelligent, she was certified to teach English, French, German, Latin and mathematics, and was an accomplished pianist and needleworker. She became a self-taught expert on the linen industry, and wrote a definitive history of the Stevens Linen Mill. Pearle L. Crawford exemplified the qualities of fineness, fairness and wit. She was tireless in her commitment to her children, grandchildren and her family of origin.
Pearle served as a library trustee for 20 years. In 1971, as chair of the trustees and of the building committee, she was instrumental in the construction of the Dudley Free Public Library addition. Pearle died at the end of 1971, and in 1972, Town of Dudley voters renamed the library "Pearle L Crawford Memorial Library” in her honor, to be a source of inspiration and knowledge for the community it serves.