Library History

In the late 1880s, several individuals were instrumental in bringing a public library collection to the town of Somerset. Mr. Alfred Hood, Mr. D. Edgar Simmons and Dr. F. A. Morrill were the first Somerset residents to take up a collection of books, which was housed in Capt. Nathan S. Davis's ice cream parlor until 1891. When the collection outgrew it's ice cream parlor home, it was moved to a storefront on Main Street, where it was cataloged by Miss Hannah Robinson and kept in the care of the W.C.T.U. (Women's Christian Temperance Union). Unfortunately the collection was too small to support an active circulation and the library lapsed for about a year before Mrs. Rebecca Rounds and Mrs. F. A. Morrill solicited funds to increase the collection and reopen the library. The Somerset Public Library was established as a State Free Public Library in 1897, and management of the library was taken over by the town. By fulfilling the requirements of a State Free Public Library, the town secured $100 of books from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

 

In the early 20th century the library's permanent home was the Hood Library building in the Village area of town. Donated to the town for the purpose of the library by Alfred H. Hood (in honor of his father, William P. Hood), the Hood Library eventually became one of several branch libraries throughout the town. By mid-century there were three branch libraries on Somerset: the Pottersville Fire Barn on Riverside Avenue (no longer in existence) which later moved to the Bridge building at the corner of Pratt Avenue, the Westhill Branch in the Westhill School building (now AmVets Hall) which was later relocated to Read Street and Wilbur School. 

 

Longtime library trustee chairman, Vincent J. Riley, was the force behind having a central library in Somerset. Riley was so enthusiastic he even drove patrons to and from the library in his own bus! The central library was eventually erected on town land located next door to the Somerset Town Hall in 1974. As the central library collection grew and circulation increased the town began to repurpose the library branches and at present, the Library building on County Street (Rt. 138) is Somerset's only library with a large addition added in 2001. Housing thousands of books, as well as computers, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks, puzzles, newspapers, video games and much, much more, the library is the primary community center in town.