Celebrating The Gunn Memorial Library

Did you know that February is Library Lovers’ Month? To show our love, we are shining the spotlight on Washington’s Gunn Memorial Library to showcase the amazing contribution it makes to our community. The Gunn Library is so much more than a space to discover new books. It is truly a cultural hub for our town that is dedicated to enriching the lives of Washington’s residents and those of the surrounding neighborhoods. We love our Gunn Library and we have put together a list of five fast facts to illustrate its special place in our community.

1. Historical roots in town

The Gunn Library started as the Washington Library Association in 1852 and Frederick W. Gunn, an abolitionist and educator, became its first president in 1855. As the Association began to gather more books, it reformed as the Washington Reading Room and Circulating Library Association. The popularity as well as the collection size of the Reading Room quickly grew which made the need for a larger and permanent library building more apparent. After a generous donation, the Gunn Memorial Library was built and it opened in 1908 at its current location on the town’s green.

2. Non-profit at its heart

The library is a non-profit corporation that provides free public library services to Washington and the neighboring towns. It is dedicated to promoting literacy, education, and cultural curiosity within its community. The library operates on donations from individuals as well as the several fundraising events they hold throughout the year.

3. Cultural hub for our community

Since its establishment, the Gunn Library has been a social and learning hub for the town of Washington. The Library hosts numerous programs and events throughout the year which range from special lectures and music concerts to art exhibits and book discussions. Also, the Library has very active programming for both kids and teens which include arts and crafts workshops, book readings, and special holiday events. And the brilliant, dedicated library staff who plan a plethora of events are themselves a beloved part of our community.

To see all of the Gunn Library’s upcoming events, check out the Gunn Memorial Library calendar.

4. Tracing Washington’s history

Founded in 1899, the Gunn Historical Museum not only neighbors the library, but also it is dedicated to documenting the history of Washington. The Museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and share the objects and stories which showcase the town’s history. Like the library, the Museum is quite active in the community and hosts special programs that enlighten and educate local residents on the history of their town.

5. Beautiful aesthetics

The Gunn Memorial Library itself is quite beautiful inside and out. The famous architect Ehrick Rossiter designed the original library building in 1908 and his illustrious style can still be seen today when you view the library from the town’s green. As you enter the library, the upper level features the incredible Mowbray Mural. Donated by the painter H. Siddons Mowbray, this grand ceiling mural is breathtaking to look at as it depicts a classic Greek myth. Be sure to take a look on your next visit to the library.


To learn more about the Library, please visit the Gunn Memorial Library & Museum’s website. We also encourage you to support the Gunn Library and all the fantastic work they do for our town. Some ways to show your love! – consider volunteering your time or making a donation.