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Past, Present, and Future

Library History

The roots of Webster’s Public Library date back to 1863 when the Young People’s Library Association began work towards establishing a “Public Library system” for the town. A private Webster Library Association, with Chester C. Corbin as an incorporator, was formed in 1867, and non-members were allowed borrowing privileges by 1875. At the 1889 Town Meeting, the Free Public Library was established with an appropriation of $1,500.00.

Saddler's Shop

Located above the Saddler's Shop, the first public library opened in Webster in 1889.

Chester C. Corbin Public Library

In 1918, Augusta E. Corbin bequeathed a large sum to the town for the purpose of building and maintaining a public library in memory of her husband. The land was acquired in 1919, construction began in 1920, and the building opened to the public on July 30, 1921. The building was designed by the prestigious New York architectural firm of Titan & Githens. An elevator was installed in 1998, and a new roof in 2003.

Chester C. Corbin, namesake of the 1921 building.

Construction of the Gladys E. Kelly Library

In 2016 the Chester C. Corbin Library was demolished to make room for the brand new Gladys E. Kelly Library, built on the same site. The construction of the new building took 2 years, and was completed and open to the public on September 3rd, 2018.

The Gladys E. Kelly Public Library opened in 2018.

Interactive History Display

For more history of the Library and the Town of Webster, be sure to check out our “magic book” wall, created by Trivium Interactive, that allows visitors to explore Webster’s past and the story behind the original Chester C. Corbin Library. 

Each interactive cycles through five different chapters in Webster’s history, and each chapter contains a series of images and animations that bring that era to life. The display is located on the second floor.

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