The Walton-DeFuniak Library opened during the first decade that DeFuniak Springs became a town. The community originated in the early 1880s as a station on the new Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad. The town was named for Frederick de Funiak, president of the P and A Railroad, a subsidiary of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
In the mid-1880s, representatives of the widely popular Chautauqua Association, an adult education movement combining education with religion and recreation, selected DeFuniak Springs as the Florida assembly grounds site. In 1885, the first annual session of the Florida Chautauqua Association was held here, and local women realized that library resources would be needed. In 1886, an Aid Society was formed, which became the Ladies Library Association the next year.
By the end of 1887, the building was completed. The institution became the Walton County Public Library in 1966. In 1975, it was renamed the Walton-DeFuniak Library. At that time, the library building was the oldest structure in Florida built as a library and still serving as a library.
DeFuniak Springs Ladies Library Association in cooperation with the Florida Department of State