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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 fundraising campaign to furnish the building.

The present building housing the Farmington Public Library officially opened to the public in August 1980. The Farmington Public Library is dedicated to the memory of Witten H. Ledbetter, devoted friend of the library, skillful journalist and dedicated mayor of Farmington.

The Farmington Public Library has grown from “Reading Rooms” to its own building of 8,000 square feet, from a book collection of 150 to a collection of more than 42,250 volumes, from a beginning membership of 200 to more than 10,000 today. With computer resources, a special genealogy area, kids areas and events for all ages, the Farmington Public Library is definitely more than just a reading room!

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