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Donation Helps Woburn Public Library Move Closer to Expanded Building

Donation Helps Woburn Public Library Move Closer to Expanded Building

The Woburn Public Library moved a step closer to potentially renovating and expanding the library.

The Woburn Public Library Foundation announced that former Woburn residents Luke Griffin and his mother, Helen Griffin, gave a $100,000 gift to the campaign in the memory of the late Stephen J. Griffin. The library will use Stephen J. Griffin’s name for the south reading room in the Richardson building in the new library.

The gift is the first “for the purpose of naming a space within a new building,” said Larry Rideout, president of the foundation.

Luke Griffin, whose family moved to Winchester when he was 7, said he “never really left Woburn” and his father's “commitment to the city” inspired them to make the donation. 

“The reading room is so appropriate,” said Griffin, “because that’s where my dad spent so much of his time.”

Stephen J. Griffin was born and raised in the South End of Woburn and graduated from Woburn High in 1934. Without the money to attend college, the library became his university, recalled his son.

Stephen J. Griffin went on to a career at Gillette and ultimately became president and vice chairman of the board for several years.

“My mother’s father was an immigrant from Sweden who walked to the library to read the newspaper as a way to learn English,” his son said. “My father’s father died when my dad was quite young, and his grandfather encouraged him to walk up to the library from the South End, the neighborhood known as ‘Mount Misery,’ where some members of the Griffin family had lived since the 1850s, to explore the world of books.”

“It’s a pleasure to serve on the library foundation board,” said Luke Griffin, who has volunteered with the foundation since its launch a year ago. “The Woburn Public Library is a treasure and gives the city a sense of history and character. I have fond memories of my father talking about what a wonderful building it is. My mother and I are happy to be able to make this gift in his memory.”

The Woburn Public Library Foundation continues to raise funds for renovation and expansion of the library. For more information and to see images of the planned work, go to www.thewplfoundation.org.

A list of spaces available for naming may be obtained by contacting the Director of Development at 781-281-2121 or by email at woburnpubliclibraryfoundation@gmail.com.

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