For more than a century, in fact since 1865, Hyannis has had a Free Public Library. In 1862 Mrs. Rosella Ford Baxter conceived of the idea of a library for the town. She recruited fourteen women and our library history was started. In 1865 the library was officially established and it has had various homes before moving permanently in 1908 to Main Street, Hyannis to a classic Cape Cod house, with lovely grounds, purchased for only 2, 500 from the famed James Otis of Hyannis Port, who had held the building in trust after purchasing it from the heirs of Dorcas Hallet.
The first home of the library was in what used to be Freeman Tobey's Store, now occupied by the Patriot Press. A few years later it moved to a small building (The Saturday Night Club) on East Main Street near what was once Mabel K Baker's Colonial Candle Company, now razed. The Cape Cod Credit Union is now on this property. After reaching its present home, The Loring-Hallet-Otis House, no major changes occurred until the Eagleston Wing in 1938.
A brief history of the library would not be complete without mentioning Ora Adams Hinckley, a school teacher, who became the first full time librarian in 1909 and served until 1943. Mrs. Hinckley was a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins and also President John Adams. Her husband S. Alexander Hinckley, a musician, railroader, and a soldier in the War Between the States, was a native Cape Codder.
Over the years the Hyannis Public Library has served the community...from Presidents and Senators to fisherman and children. It is hoped that those who hold dear tradition, Cape Cod atmosphere and life will continue to invest in our future.