125th Anniversary

History of the Library

The library was founded in 1899 with financial support from the Falls Church Village Improvement Society (VPIS), which amassed several hundred books for circulation to community subscribers from a structure behind the home of George W. Hawxhurst at the northeast corner of North Washington and East Columbia Streets. In 1913, the collection was transferred from VPIS to the Falls Church Civic League (known later as the Falls Church Woman's Club) and continued to operate out of different locations throughout Falls Church until the late 1950s.

The Town of Falls Church first officially began supporting the library in 1928 and assumed full responsibility for the library in 1940. After becoming an independent City in 1948, the City of Falls Church established a formal library board in 1954 and ultimately funded construction of a new library building on land donated by the children of Mary Riley Styles, the longtime chairwoman of the Library Committee of the Woman’s Club who passed away in 1946.

The new building opened in 1958 and has since been renovated and expanded three times: 1969, 1993, and most recently 2021. Previously known as the Falls Church Public Library, it was re-named the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in 1977.

Today, the library continues to serve the City of Falls Church’s roughly 15,000 residents, as well as library users throughout the Metro DC area.

Library History Timeline

Each month during our 125th Anniversary Celebration (January - December 2024) we'll post a new decade highlighting key events from the library's history. So check back here regularly!