by Mary Rubenstein
“To the inhabitants of the Town of North Reading: I, Harriet Flint of Wakefield, as an expression of my regard for the Town of North Reading, propose to give said Town, the Library known as the “Flint Library of North Reading.”
— Wakefield, February 27, 1873, Harriet N. Flint
In 1874, Harriet Flint purchased a small parcel of land located at the west end of the island formed by Park and Bow Street and on it she had built “the largest, most elegant, and most modern building North Reading had ever seen”. This was and is Flint Memorial Hall. In 1875, the library was installed in the southeast corner of the ground floor and remained there until 1958 when expansion led them across the street to the Whitcomb House [formerly Damon Tavern]. This building was purchased by the Town when William W. Weeks bequeathed a sum of money to be used for a library. It was renamed the Weeks Memorial Building in honor of its benefactor.
During the 1970’s, the Flint Memorial Hall, which was still in operation as the Town Hall, began to fall into disrepair. Town offices were moved in December of 1988 and the building was left vacant. At the same time, it was becoming more obvious that the library was in need of more space and a more modern setting. In April of 1989, Town Meeting voted to fund the renovation of the Flint Memorial Hall as a new facility for the Flint Memorial Library. The renovation was completed and the dedication took place on October 20, 1991.
In 1872, North Reading had a population of less than a thousand with a library of 400 books. Today, our population numbers over 15,000 and the library collection is over 70,000 items, including books, periodicals, audiobooks, music CDs, DVDs, and it is growing in a variety of other media and formats.
Pictured above: Charles and Harriet Flint