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Newton Free Library first opened its doors in 1870 at the old 414 Centre Street location. The original building was established “for the free use of residents of the town,” and housed a collection of about 7,000 volumes with an annual circulation of approximately 37,000.

As demand for library services grew so did the building with multiple additions. In 1948 library building consultant Joseph Wheeler recommended that “either a new building or an addition is immediately and urgently needed.” This led to building yet another addition in 1952 which, in the words of former Library Director Virginia A. Tashjian, was “…only a stop-gap measure which did nothing to provide the necessary space the library would need in a world where information multiplied so rapidly.”

Since the 1960s, the building of a new main library had been at the center of a long and often contentious debate. Ultimately the City’s Design Review Committee approved the architectural designs of A. Anthony Tappe and Kallmann MicKinnell and Wood for the new library in June 1987. In August of the same, year, the Board of Alderman unanimously granted approval to build the new building on the 4.588 acre lot at the intersection of Homer and Walnut Streets.

The official ground breaking was on July 27, 1989 and, two years later, the last piece of steel was hoisted when the building was topped off on January 22, 1990. The library was built at a cost of $15,300,000. In the ensuing months the 91,405 square foot Neo-Georgian style building took shape, culminating with the official opening festivities on September 15, 1991.

Today, Newton Free Library has a collection that exceeds 366,000 print and 183,400 non-print and digital items, and an annual circulation of close to 2 million and welcomes over 600,000 people per year.

We offer a collection of over 450,000 physical items including: books, CDs, audiobooks on CD and Playaway, DVDs and magazines. We have a vibrant collection of books and DVDs in Russian and Chinese, and a growing collection of World Language books. As part of the Minuteman Library Network, we have access to many more items we can request for you. We also offer thousands of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, and streaming movies, tv shows, and music. Check out our ebooks and streaming page (with link) for more information.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Library!