Fall River Public Library:

Preserving Yesterday, Informing Today, Inspiring Tomorrow


Fall River Library c. 1900
Fall River Public Library, circa 1900. Note the front entrance awning, since removed. The building is essentially the same.


The Fall River Public Library was founded in 1861, as the direct descendant of the Fall River Athenaeum, a private subscription library which had been in operation since 1835. The library was housed in the Fall River City Hall until 1886, when a fire destroyed part of the collection and forced relocation to rented premises on North Main Street. The new location, while more spacious, was not considered suitable as permanent housing for a public library, and in 1895 the City authorized construction of a library building. The present library building on North Main Street was opened in 1899. Beginning in 2001, the library underwent a complete restoration. The original building has retained its beauty and historic appeal, but with facilities designed for the 21st century library user.

With more computers, wireless access, and book stacks open to the public, the renovated building, opened in 2003, continues to amaze visitors with its vaulted ceilings, marble accents and graceful design. We are still a source for books, but we now offer you access to electronic information as well. While technology changes rapidly, our mission is still to create an environment that welcomes patrons of all ages, interests, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.

Take a VIRTUAL TOUR of our historic library!

About the Library


The Fall River Public Library seeks to be an integral part of the community by providing all residents with a wide variety of popular and reference materials, resources, technology, and services that facilitate their daily lives and extend their personal and intellectual development.

The People's University

The motto "The People's University," carved on the library's original Fall River granite walls, testifies to the public library's long-standing role as a free source of education open to all people in a democratic society. The staff of the Fall River Public Library works to create an environment that welcomes and satisfies the needs of patrons of all ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds. 

Vision Statement

The Fall River Public Library seeks to be a household name as your one-stop source for information, education, and entertainment.