Worcester: Worcester Public Library

The Worcester Public Library was established in 1859 by the Worcester City Council with gifts of 7,000 books from Dr. John Green III and 4,000 books from the Worcester Lyceum and Library Association. The Library opened in its current Salem Square location in 1953 and underwent extensive renovations in 2001. This building incorporated into its design such treasures as the Works Progress Administration-era murals and art glass doors from earlier iterations of the library. Samuel Swett Green, nephew of the original book donor and WPL’s Second Head Librarian, was one of the founders of the American Library Association (ALA) and is remembered for his many contributions to public librarianship. He encouraged cooperation between libraries and schools, pioneered modern library reference service, and opened WPL on Sundays, the first library in the U.S. to do so. Following his example, the Library currently features books in 15 languages, a reflection of Worcester’s diverse population. In addition to the Main Library, WPL operates from six branches; the Frances Perkins branch remains a testament to the generous support of magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in the early 20th century. For more information, visit http://www.mywpl.org/.