Watertown Free Public Library Historically Exterior

History of the Library

Watertown Free Public Library has been community based from its earliest days. Solon Whitney was named our first librarian in 1867. Throughout his 50 year career he publicly stated his firm belief that the library belonged to the citizens. This is still our basic belief today. During Whitney's tenure our 1884 building was constructed. Now that building has been completely renovated with an addition that provides services for the 21st century.

In 2010, a community based committee completed a Long Range Plan for the Library. Central to this plan is the concept of Watertown Free Public Library as a hub where all come to meet and connect in a welcoming, supportive environment. Watertown citizens have a library where they can pursue interests of all kinds - informational, recreational and educational.

Building Renovations

  • 1900 Addition of Stack Wing
  • 1934 Addition of Librarian's office and extension to the stack wing
  • 1956 Addition of a wing at the front and east side of the building
  • 1991 Electrical and code renovations and the installation of an elevator
  • 2006 Major renovation and expansion. The stack wing and 1956 wing were demolished, and new construction doubled the square footage of the library. Architect: Lerner, Ladd, and Bartel. Contractor: Delulis Brothers. The project was made possible through a grant from the Board of Library commissioners, Town of Watertown funds and the generosity of the community.

Art Collection

Harriet HosmerThe library building houses works by Watertown’s best-known artists, including Harriet Hosmer and Ellen Robbins, as well as depictions of prominent figures in the town’s history: Reverend Convers Francis, founding library director Solon Whitney, and horticulturist H. H. Hunnewell, to name a few. Browse images of the library's art collection and learn more here.