The Watts Free Libary in Leonard, North Dakota, represents small community libraries built from private endowments. The gift of $5,000 for the Watts Free Library was made in 1911 by Edgerton Watts, the town’s postmaster, in memory of his wife, Mary. The small, cottage-like library was dedicated on November 27, 1913, along with the park surrounding it. It’s believed to be the smallest privately-funded library ever built in the state.
When the library closed in 1967, there was a plan to reuse the building as restrooms for the park. Another idea was to move the building to nearby Bonanzaville. Several local residents were against the idea and received permission from the City Council to reopen the library in 1971. Today, the library is publicly funded with a collection of 2,550 volumes and circulates 3,712 items annually. It’s open on Saturdays between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.