History of the Library

Old black and white photo of Watertown Free Public 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. 


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.