Located in the historic mill village of Pontiac, the Pontiac Free Library Association was founded in 1884.
The Pontiac Mills, established by Robert and Benjamin Knight during the mid-1800’s, was home to the “Fruit of the Loom” clothing label. The mills and the Knight family had a great impact on the village and its residents.
The Library was created due to the efforts of several village residents; today we recognize mainly Rev. Laurence B. Thoumad, Carl Sundin, and David Alexander, superintendent of the Pontiac Mills. Miss Edith Knight, a relative of Robert and Benjamin, spent much time acting as librarian. Most of the Library’s funds were raised through suppers and concerts hosted by Miss Knight.
In later years, the Library began to expand. A trust fund was created through the Knight family’s continuing interest and generous funds left by Edith Knight. The Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company aided in this endeavor and the fund was created in 1943.
The present brick structure was erected in 1957. After World War II, the Library was finally able to offer better service and hours. The new building was opened to borrowers on February 10, 1957, the very day after its dedication.