Tucked away in a room in Town Hall, Watertown Free Public Library first opened its doors on March 31, 1869. Since then, WFPL has found a permanent home at 123 Main Street, opened new departments for children and teens, established an innovative English language program with Project Literacy, created a library-run makerspace with Hatch, and continues to welcome all with a staff dedicated to service. Join us throughout 2019 as we celebrate the past, present, and future of our much-loved library. Here’s to the next 150 years!
In 1869, WFPL was open two days a week, four hours a day. In the early years, there was intense disagreement over the value of fiction. One trustee argued “the modern story has no place in a town library.” Some worried that novels would corrupt the minds of Watertown youth. Much has changed in 150 years. Here are two ways you can follow our story from the “cramped, uncomfortable” basement room in Town Hall to the library we know and love today.
Timeline: Learn how WFPL has adapted to changing times by exploring our interactive timeline!
WFPL Gallery: Throughout March, historic photos of WFPL will be displayed in our gallery. Stop by!
Experience the library reflected through the work of local artists! This spring, we issued an open call for artwork (in any medium) that celebrates WFPL and Watertown. ART150 submissions will be on display in the T. Ross Kelly Family Gallery (just past the Reference Desk on the second floor) from April 6-30.