The doors at Branch No. 7 of the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened to patrons on July 2, 1900, seventeen years after industrialist Robert Poole and fellow businessmen established Woodberry’s first community library. In 1899, Poole donated land across the street from his Maple Hill estate, the books from the old library, and $25,000 towards the construction of the new building on Falls Road.
The library’s architect Joseph Evans Sperry designed a number of significant buildings along with partner John Wyatt. The firm’s work including the Bromo Seltzer Tower and the Mercantile Trust and Deposit Building. The neoclassical design of the library was a departure from the Romanesque style of the original six library branches, designed by Sperry's former boss, architect Charles Carson. Poole's foundry located down the hill in Woodberry provided the ionic columns for the library. More famously, in the 1850s, the foundry cast the columns of the peristyle of the U.S. Capitol Building dome.
In order to increase circulation in the busy mill town, the library advertised the new branch with slips placed in workers' pay envelopes. The library also carried reference books on textile manufacturing as requested by residents. When the mills were at their busiest, the library had to find new ways to attract visitors. The library also faced competition from new sources of entertainment to Hampden such as a bowling alley, pool room, and movie theater. Up until 1915, the library shared the building with Provident Savings Bank. When the bank moved to 36th Street, the library tore down the wall that had separated the the reading room from the bank to create a new auditorium for lectures.
One of the more elaborate ways the library attracted visitors was the 1917 Garden Exhibit and Harvest Exhibition. During the Garden Exhibit in the spring, librarians handed out packets of seeds to patrons and nurtured a garden of their own behind the library. In an annual report, the branch manager noted that the staff found gardening surprisingly interesting. They were taken in by the excitement of coming to work and seeing plants that had grown as much as an inch taller overnight. The Harvest Exhibition took place in the fall, offering residents a miniature county fair with lectures on canning and gardening and contests for the best crops.
In 1936, Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds were used to double the size of the Hampden Library. Today, the library remains both an architectural landmark and community resource for area residents.