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The Charlton Free Public Library was established in 1882. Charlton MAA spent 1.73% ($306,971) of its budget on its public library some $24 per person. The library gained national recognition in 1906 after it banned Mark Twain's short story "Eve's Diary" for its illustrations of Eve in "summer costume." Twain testified before Congress after the incident saying, "The whole episode has rather amused me. I have no feeling of vindictiveness over the stand of the librarians there — I am only amused. You see they did not object to my book; they objected to Lester Ralph's pictures. I wrote the book; I did not make the pictures. I admire the pictures, and I heartily approve them, but I did not make them."
Charlton MA is bisected by north-south Route 31, which runs through the historical villages of Charlton Center, Charlton City and Charlton Depot. North-south Route 169 connects Charlton City with Southbridge. East-west routes include Route 20, a major commuter road, and the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90), which crosses through Charlton but does not have an exit in the town.
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