The Fayetteville Free Library began as a subscription reading room in 1906 when 50 public-minded citizens banded together to share their periodical subscriptions. The original Library, which charged a fifty cent membership fee, was at 114 E. Genesee Street. The Library grew rapidly and soon books, borrowed from the New York State Library, and children's services were added.
In 1911, a permanent charter was received from the Board of Regents. The name was changed from "reading room" to "free library" meaning there was no longer any membership fee.
By 1922, the need for more space had become critical. The Board of Trustees purchased the McViccar home at 111 E. Genesee St. after the passing of Harriet McViccar, one of the Library's early founders and its original librarian.
The Greek Revival house, built in the early 1800s, underwent a major expansion in 1968 and then a reorganization in 1992 in order to offer greater accessibility for all patrons.
In 2003, the Board of Trustees once again responded to the need for more space for the Library's growing collections and programs and for improved parking access. The former Stickley Furniture factory at 300 Orchard Street was purchased and renovated in the first of a multi-phased plan designed to accommodate patrons of all ages with state-of-the-art technology, media collections, and program opportunities.
Since 2003, with support from the local community, businesses, foundations and the State of New York, the FFL has executed three additional phases of facilities development, adding the following:
- A community meeting space with AV and surround sound
- Staff and volunteer work spaces
- Small meeting and tutoring spaces
- A cafe serving coffee and refreshments in our cozy Reading Room
The Library remains true to its mission of providing free and open access to information as a lifelong learning center.