The following piece was provided by the Watertown Free Public Library:
Tucked away in the basement of Town Hall, Watertown Free Public Library first opened its doors on March 31, 1869 under founding director Solon Whitney. In those early years, the library was open two days a week, four hours a day. The library was well used, but there was intense disagreement over the value of fiction. In 1882, one trustee argued that “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.
Across 15 decades, Watertown’s library has transformed from a small reading room into a vibrant community hub, one that attracts and welcomes users of all ages and abilities. After finding a permanent home at 123 Main Street, the library has continued growing, opening new departments for children and teens, establishing an innovative English language program with Project Literacy, and creating a library-run makerspace with Hatch. Today, WFPL continues to welcome all with a staff dedicated to service.
Generously supported by the Town and community, WFPL continues to transform and adapt to meet the changing needs of Watertown. “We try to make this library as welcoming of everyone as possible,” says library director Leone Cole. “No matter your circumstances in life at any particular time, you can go to the library and feel welcome.”
To celebrate and thank the Watertown community that has supported the library for 150years, WFPL will host a 150thAnniversary Gala on April 6, 2019, free and open to all. This all ages event will include live music, new artwork and local history on display, fun activities in the Children’s Room, and a pizza party for teens. Beverages and light refreshments will be served. To learn more and RSVP for the event, visit: watertownlib.org/150
About WFPL: The Watertown Free Public Library provides access to a wide variety of popular materials, resources, services, and programs that fulfill the informational, cultural and recreational needs of Watertown and surrounding communities. WFPL works to create an environment that attracts and welcomes users of all ages and abilities.Watertownlib.org