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 lifelong learning, expand cultural horizons, facilitate research, and inspire curiosity.

History of the Crawford Library

The Dudley Free Public 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, until 2010 (the lot and cement slab for the Village Street location were donated by Stevens Linen). In July of 2010, the Library moved into a brand new building at 40 Schofield Avenue, the site of the former Town Hall.

Our library building 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 Construction Grant for $2.3 million; Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Crawford made a private donation of $2 million; the Dudley voters supported a $1.4 million debt exclusion at town meeting; and our Capital Campaign Committee raised another $1 million plus through diligence and hard work. Surplus funds from the building phase were used to establish the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library Endowment Fund in 2011. These funds are specifically earmarked to be used for enhancements and enrichments to the library and supplement our municipal allocation.
The Library is a department of the Town of Dudley and receives funding from the town budget, which is approved by voters at the annual Town Meeting.  The Library also receives State Aid from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners by meeting the requirements for library certification.  Financial support also comes from local cultural grants and from the annual award from the Hugh and Harriet Crawford Endowment Fund.
Additional support for Library services, including the purchase of annual museum passes, is provided by the Friends of the Library.  The Friends of the Library offer semi-annual book sales and an ongoing book sale shelf where residents can donate and recycle books.
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 in fiscal Year 1901 the library circulated 3,410 items.

The current library has over 45,000 items, over 6900 cardholders, and in fiscal year 2019 circulated more than 67,000 items.

The Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library is a member of the C/WMARS network and uses the network’s Evergreen ILS.  The Library also participates in the Massachusetts Library System’s delivery program, allowing our patrons to access materials from libraries throughout the state.  In fiscal year 2019 patrons of the Library received nearly 9000 items from other libraries.

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, raising horses and prize-winning collies. She was a past President of the Worcester Kennel Club.

Highly intelligent, she was certified to teach English, French, German, Latin, and mathematics. She 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. Mrs. Crawford exemplified the qualities of fineness, fairness and wit. She was tireless in her commitment to her family.

Mrs. Crawford served as a Library Trustee for 20 years. In 1971, as Chair of the Trustees and the Building Committee, she was instrumental in the construction of the Dudley Free Public Library addition. Pearle died in 1971 and, in 1972, the town voted to rename the library the "Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library" in her honor, to be a source of inspiration and knowledge for the communitiy it serves.


Samples of Pearle's Needlework

Worcester Telegram Article About Pearle, 2010
Stevens Linen, Its First Century and a Half, written by Pearle L. Crawford for The New-England Galaxy, Winter 1968

The First Peoples of Dudley, Massachusetts―Nipmuc and English

Click here to read The First Peoples of Dudley, Massachusetts―Nipmuc and English compiled by historian and long time resident George Martin.