Woods Memorial Library &
Barre Library Association History
In 1857, Samuel Gates donated his collection of books to the Town of Barre, thus creating the community’s first public library. In 1885, the Barre Library Association was incorporated to raise funds to build a suitable structure to house the growing collection, as temporary quarters shared with the post office were inadequate. Barre native Henry Woods came forward in 1886 to donate both the land and building for a town library. Designed by Mr. Wood’s son Henry D. Woods, work began on the Woods Memorial Library in June 1886. The building was named to honor the donor’s family. With construction complete, the library opened for business on Tuesday August 30, 1887.
The library houses a small museum of historical significance, which is managed and maintained by the Barre Museum Association. The building was renovated extensively in 1958, 1967,1987 and in 2000; the latter project doubling the library’s size. Starting in 2006 the library had major problems with flooding in basement of the building. These problems were predominately due to the failing infrastructure and drainage of the Barre Common. The children’s room of the library had to be closed because of water damage and necessary repairs.
The Children’s area was re-opened in the summer of 2014.
The Barre Library Association (BLA) currently owns and maintains the building and grounds, and pays for all repairs, building inspections and insurance. The BLA is a private 501(c)(3) corporation made up of donors and volunteers. The BLA’s funds are raised and provided by private contributions and grants.