The beginnings of the Farmington Public Library have their roots in an “evening of music and reading” organized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1915. “Reading Rooms” were first located in the Tetley Building, second in the Farmington High School, and then moved back to the Tetley Building. The Library officially opened in May, 1916, with a collection of 150 books, which grew to 1,600 books by 1917.
In April, 1920, the Library was moved for the fourth time to the Farmer’s Bank Building. Plans were being made for the fifth move to a new building, Long Memorial Hall, which was built as a tribute to William Dubart Long, a pioneer of Farmington. When the building was nearly complete, a fire delayed the formal dedication, which took place October 31, 1924. Farmington Public Library was housed in Long Memorial Hall from October, 1924, until its move to 108 W. Harrison St. in August, 1980. Services have gradually expanded to include not only books but magazines, newspapers, large print books, audio books on cassette, and videos. Further expansion in services include participation in the interlibrary loan program, participation in the state’s Summer Reading Program for children, children’s story hours, copying services, and audio-visual equipment for loan, microfilm readers in the genealogy department, computerized card catalog and circulation system, and equipment for the visually impaired. A delivery service for the homebound has been added to the list of services provided by the library.
In 1977 a proposal for a new library was presented to the City Council. From a dedicated group of Friends of the Library, members of the library board, and a committed librarian, the final plan for a new facility took shape. The City allocated an amount for actual construction and architects’ fees, and the planning and steering committee began a fund-raising campaign to furnish the building. The building housing the Farmington Public Library on West Harrison Street officially opened to the public in August, 1980. This building was dedicated in the memory of Witten H. Ledbetter, devoted friend of the library, skillful journalist, and dedicated mayor of Farmington.
On September 23, 2015, the current building opened at 101 North A Street. It is almost triple the size of the previous building at approximately 22,000 square feet. The library has grown from a book collection of 150 in 1916 to a collection of more than 42,000 volumes; from a beginning membership of 200 in 1916 to more than 10,000 today.