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Jamestown Philomenian Library
Supporting our people as they pursue their dreams...
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History, Mission & Staff
Library History

The Philomenian Debating Society was organized in 1828 and the members agreed to pay one dollar a year toward a fund to start a library. That library and another lending library on Conanicut Island were combined in November 1874 to create the Jamestown Philomenian Library. The Library moved from private homes, to the back of the town hall, to an empty school. In 1971, a building to house the Library was erected on the present site. In l993, a 1.4 million dollar addition was erected to house our collection of 35,000 volumes. It includes a meeting hall which seats 125 people.

What's a Philomenian Anyway?

This is a coined word. In the 1840's, debating and cultural societies were common in communities around the country. One such organization met here on Jamestown starting in 1847. The root "philo" is often used in English words to mean "love of". However, no Greek derivation can be found for the "menian" part of the word. It is thought that the people of the time just added syllables without meaning in choosing the names of this and similar societies. There was a Philermenian Society, Philandrian Society and a Philophysian Society at Brown University during the same period.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Jamestown Philomenian Library is to anticipate the needs of our island community and provide, for people of all ages, relevant and appropriate library materials, services and centers for meeting and learning. The Library seeks to educate, inform, entertain and enlighten through both traditional and new technologies.


The Jamestown Library - supporting our people as they pursue their dreams.

Library Staff