Mission & History


The Winchester Public Library is a dynamic community resource that endeavors to improve the quality of life for its library patrons by providing:

  • the resources, services and support they need to make informed decisions, resolve issues or answer questions;
  • children and teens with the programs, services and materials they need to succeed in school and satisfy their educational and recreational interests as they grow from infants to young adults;
  • the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest and to support intellectual growth throughout their lives;
  • a safe and welcoming physical space to meet and interact with others or to sit quietly and read and have access to the ever-growing resources and services available through the library’s web site.


The forerunner of the Winchester Public Library was the South Woburn Library Association founded in 1848. After the incorporation of the Town of Winchester in 1850, the name of the association was changed to the Winchester Library Association.

The Winchester Public Library was founded in 1858, and the present building was constructed in 1931, at a cost of $137,000. Designed by highly regarded New England architect Robert Coit, along with the firm of Kilham, Hopkins & Greeley, the Library’s English Norman exterior is of rough-faced Massachusetts granite with joints of dark mortar and trim of cut limestone. The building’s innovative design, combining both an art gallery and library, was featured in the June 1932 issue of The Architectural Forum.

An addition to the building, designed by Kilham, Hopkins, Greeley, and Brodie, was completed in 1966. It provided for a larger reading and reference room, an enlarged children’s room, a workroom, and increased storage capacity.

The 1996 addition was designed by Thompson, French, and Matsumoto and resulted in a 20% increase in usable space for a total of 28,000 square feet. Both public and private funds were used to update the building, repair and restore the slate roof, Tiffany windows, and Ripley and Caser murals, and improve accessibility.