Plattsburgh's first libraries were established in 1797, 1829 and 1894. The Plattsburgh Public Library was organized in June 1894, through the efforts of the Rev. N. Richards, then Pastor of the Baptist Church. He used the basement of the Church as a place people could gather and read books and papers. Soon after this, Rev. Richards heard of the traveling libraries sent out by the Regents in Albany. Correspondence began with Mr. W.R. Eastman, State Superintendent of Public Libraries. Money was raised for transportation of the books to Plattsburgh. Fifty volumes arrived for the Reading Room at the Church. The books were in constant circulation and changed every three months. A charter was granted to the Library on June 5, 1894.
The Plattsburgh Public Library operates under a Charter from the State of New York. The Mayor and the Common Council of the City of Plattsburgh appoint the Library Board of Trustees, which is the decision making body. Funding is provided by local and State funds, with the City of Plattsburgh providing the major portion.