Jamestown Philomenian Library

26 North Road
Jamestown, RI 02835

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.

Our Mission:

The mission of the Jamestown Philomenian Library is to respond to the needs of our island community by providing, 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.
Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster
Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today


  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Jamestown
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner