About the Library

The Millicent Library is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation which contracts with the Town of Fairhaven to provide free library services to residents of Fairhaven and the surrounding area as part of the SAILS library network. The corporation was established in 1892 by Henry Huttleston Rogers to manage and operate the library as an entity separate from the town.

The Millicent Library was built with funds provided by Rogers with the land and building deeded to the Town of Fairhaven by Rogers’ children to memorialize their sister Millicent who died at age 17 of heart disease. 

Cover for deed of the library, 1892
Cover for deed of the library to the Town of Fairhaven, 1892.

In 1888, Rogers had established the private Fairhaven Water Company which supplied water for Fairhaven. He later gave the Fairhaven Water Company to the Millicent Library as a funding source for ongoing operations.  For 70-years, Millicent Library operated with dividends from the water company until the town sought to acquire the company including wells, pumps, and street piping. In 1966, a committee of Millicent Library trustees and Fairhaven leaders worked together to form a mutual agreement that would compensate for the purchase of the water company by the Town of Fairhaven.

After considerable negotiation and appropriate action by the Massachusetts legislature, the town of Fairhaven took over the assets, liabilities, and equipment and of the Fairhaven Water Company and the Millicent Library gave up a valuable asset.  The legislature determined that as compensation for giving up such a valuable asset, the Library should be assured of support by the town.

Chapter 715 of the Acts of 1966 as amended by Chapter 830 of the Acts of 1967 and Article (B) of the Town Meeting of March 16, 1968 provide the following:

     “The Town of Fairhaven, the owner of the land and building thereon and in which is located The Millicent Library, may, by contract with The Millicent Library, a corporation duly organized under the laws of the Commonwealth and charged by deed of trust with the management of said library, assume by annual appropriation, the support and maintenance of said library, insofar as any such annual appropriation is required which, when added to the annual income form other sources, would provide sufficient annual support per capita based on the population of said town to equal the annual per capita amount expended for free public library service for the entire commonwealth as determined by the department of education for the preceding year.”

Payments to support Millicent Library operations are obligations of the Town of Fairhaven, according to the contract and Massachusetts legislation.

The Library Corporation has twenty trustees.  As part of the agreement with the town, five of these, including one Select Board member, are appointed by the Select Board.  The rest are chosen by the Millicent Library Board of Trustees.