About the Library

Belinda Lull Randall
Belinda Lull Randall

Our Story

John Witt Randall was a native of Massachusetts and the best known benefactor of the town of Stow. In 1851, he offered his library of 700 books to the town and left a bequest that was used to build the current library in 1894. After his death, Mr. Randall’s sister Miss Belinda Lull Randall carried out his wishes and proposed to the town that a library be built in her brother’s name based on monies from Mr. Randall’s estate. In addition came the establishment of a permanent trust fund for the support of a free library in the sum of $12,500. The annual income derived from this trust continues to support the library for the acquisitions of materials for the collections.

A Town Meeting was called and the offer of Mr. Randall’s personal book collection was gladly accepted, with the Town voting to keep the books in the Randall house with Abraham Ray in charge. This was the beginning of the Randall Library.

John Witt Randall bequeathed $25,000 for the Randall Library building. The building was built on a lot that cost $800.00. George G. Adams of Lawrence was the architect and A. P. Powers, the contractor. The building cost $8,866.65 and was dedicated on February 22, 1894. By 1895 the population of Stow was 920. In 1920, the Whitney Room was added to the library’s original building as a donation from various members of the Whitney family as part of their wills. A larger addition was constructed in 1975-1976 and dedicated as part of Stow’s celebration of the Bicentennial Year on May 25, 1976. The addition expanded the basement of the original building while preserving the upper levels in their original condition. This subterranean facility is the center of the library daily activities at the present. The second floor is used for library functions, quiet study areas, reference materials and as a community meeting room.