Kingston Free Library
2605 Kingstown Rd.
Winter Hours are the same as Summer Hours except on Saturdays. Winter Saturdays open 10-5. Summer Saturdays open 9-12. All other days remain the same throughout the year. Summer Hours usually start at the end of the school year and run through the end of August. The Library is usually closed the Saturday before Labor Day.
DIRECTIONS TO KINGSTON FREE LIBRARY
FROM PROVIDENCE AND POINTS NORTH:
Take 95 South. Get in left lanes after Warwick exits. Take Route 4 South. Route 4 becomes Route 1 South. Pass by Newport and Jamestown exit. *Follow Route 1 South to junction with 138 West/University of Rhode Island. Turn right at the lights there and follow 138 West to second set of lights. This is the entrance to the University. The Kingston Free Library is on your right on this corner.
FROM POINTS EAST:
Take Newport and Jamestown Bridges. When you get off Jamestown Bridge, take Route 138 Connector straight across to Route 1 (a few miles). Take Westerly exit off connector, which puts you on Route 1 South. Follow Route 1 South to junction with 138 West/University of Rhode Island. Turn right at the lights there and follow 138 West to second set of lights. This is the entrance to the University. The Kingston Free Library is on your right on this corner.
FROM POINTS SOUTH AND WEST:
Take Route 95 and take the Route 138 East exit. Stay on Route 138 East for about 10 miles. You will go over a railroad bridge and through West Kingston village. Then take a left at the second traffic light, onto Upper College Rd. This is also the entrance to the University of Rhode Island. The Kingston Free Library is on your right as you turn the corner.
Parking is available along Upper College Rd. There is also a small lot across from the library, your very first left as you turn onto Upper College Rd. Entrance to the library is in the rear of the building. Library is handicapped accessible.
HISTORY OF THE KINGSTON FREE LIBRARY BUILDING
Kingston Free Library Branch (1775-76)
The building presently occupied by the library is a large two and one-half story structure with a polygonal belfry and roof and a large pedimented entry. Materials used in the post and beam construction came from local forests within a mile radius. Originally built as a county court house, it also served as one of the five original state houses when the General Assembly rotated its meetings between 1776-1791. The exterior was altered in 1876, taking on a dignified Victorian appearance. The gable roof was replaced with a mansard style roof, bracketed cornices were installed, and a central pavilion and tower were added to the front, providing a new entry, vestibule, and staircase to the courtroom on the second floor. The belfry was moved from the old roof to the top of the tower. Contrasting colors in deep gold and dark brown were chosen to enhance the ornamentation. In 1895, when a new court house was build in West Kingston, the first floor was remodeled for library purposes and the court room on the second floor was converted into a meeting hall (Potter Hall). in 1959, the General Assembly transferred the title of the building to the Kingston Free Library Corporation for $1.00. In 1974, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interior was completely renovated in 1994. A two-story addition was constructed at the rear of the building and an elevator was installed to provide handicapped access to Potter Hall.
Source: Historical and Architectural Resources of South Kingstown, Rhode Island: A Preliminary Report, published in 1984 by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission.