The original Malden Public Library building opened its doors in 1885. It was designed by renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Malden's first Mayor, Elisha S Converse and his wife Mary, donated the money to build the Converse Memorial Library as a memorial to their eldest son, Frank. In 1863, Frank was murdered during the robbery of the Malden Bank, the first bank robbery in U.S. history.

The Library offers access to local history, genealogy and other special book collections. A $6.5 million addition to the library, dedicated in 1996, houses over 220,000 books, videos, magazines and other materials. Services include a computerized database, e-books and electronic resources, and Internet access for the public. The Ryder Art Gallery houses an impressive collection of European and American art and is open upon request.

The mission of the Malden Public Library is to provide open access to information and to promote a love of reading and lifelong learning to Malden residents and all residents of Massachusetts. Founded in 1879, the library is a non-profit corporation with partial City support and is governed by the Library Board of Trustees.