Now a part of the Pawtucket Public Library, the Gerald S. Burns Building was the city's official post office from 1896 (when it was built) to the 1940s. It was designed by notable architects William Martin Aiken and James Knox Taylor, both of whom were supervising architects of the United States Treasury Department and many other federal buildings around the country. They designed it in the Beau Arts style, which gained popularity after the Chicago World's Fair, which took place in 1893. The building features many distinguishing elements including the dome, arches, and two Doric columnns at what was the former entrance. When it was built, citizens considered it an affirmation of Pawtucket's importance as one of the nation's key industrial centers and as a symbol of its prosperity of growth during the previous century (cotton milling began here in the early 1790s). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The building housed the city's welfare offices after the post office closed until the 1970s. Plans were put in place to connect it to the adjacent library building, which is also listed on the Register. The work was completed in 1982 and the former post office was given its current name.