The James

The best in the arts close to home!


The James Library & Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization offering programs in music, art and literature. Housed in a landmark 1874 Victorian building in the heart of historic Norwell Center, the James features a concert hall with a Steinway B grand piano, a free lending library, and an art gallery offering new exhibits each month.

The Victorian building originally housed the First Parish of Norwell library and was then home to Norwell’s Public Library until 1973. In 1991, the James was recast as a community arts center, and today it offers concerts, music lessons, art exhibits, a community meeting space, and a range of cultural events. The James is totally self-supporting and relies on annual financial support from the community.

While affiliated with First Parish of Norwell, the James is self-operated and funded separately and can receive grants, donations, and community funding through its James Library Charitable Trust (EIN 20-4861292). The Board of Directors (where church members make up a majority) includes Wendy Bawabe, Peg Carpenter, Susan Davis, Daniel Hannafin, Bill Houser, Bernie Perry, Sue Sulc, and Julia Traggorth, and Donna Wilson (as of November, 2019).

As a small community arts center, the James consists of a 90-seat performance venue, a lending library, and an art gallery. Activities offered to the public include:

–  A wide range of concerts ranging from classical, to jazz and folk music
–  Community events such as Books in Bloom and the Holiday Marketplace
–  Programs for families with young children such as story times, concerts and puppet shows
–  Music lessons utilizing the James’ two pianos
–  Book clubs and literary discussion groups
–  Meeting space for community groups
–  Rental space for special events and music recitals
–  Art Gallery events offering exhibition space for local artists throughout the year
–  Spoken word programs such as story slams, historical presentations and literary events
–  A free lending library for adults and children offering a current collection of popular fiction and non-fiction, classics, and specialty collections focused on local history.

The James has become a vibrant place within the South Shore arts community with its active music instruction schedule, a stream of library patrons visiting daily, and daily activities offered throughout the year.


As of January, 2019, the James Library & Center for the Arts is proud to say we are handicap accessible. We now have two handicap accessible parking spaces (located to the left of the building), a side ramp entrance with automatic door, an accessible bathroom, and an elevator (accessed through the children’s reading room). If you require special assistance as you visit the James, please contact our staff to let us know at (781) 659-7100 or james library at verizon dot net. We are happy to help!


The Mission of the James is to inspire creativity,
learning, and an appreciation for the arts through music, visual, and literary programs,

 in an historic and welcoming space for the community.