I've wanted to visit here for five years, ever since I started visiting libraries and writing about them. I get to the York/Ogunquit area every couple of years, but usually only for a brief visit. Perhaps a walk on the Marginal Way or a meal at a restaurant or a visit to Perkins Cove. I would see the library, want to visit, but discover that I either forgot my camera or have arrived during the 12 to 2 lunch break. This time I have three days in York, and my sister is willing to brave the Ogunquit traffic.
The original part of the building dates back to 1897 (opened to the public in 1898). An addition was built in 1914. The library is in the National Registry of Historic Places and The Ogunquit Historic Preservation Commission.
Looking down the side of the library allows a hint of the handsome landscaped grounds.
Stone stands up to just about anything, but in 2007 the handsome doors succumbed to age and weather. The picture below shows the handcrafted replacements, which should be good for another 110 years.
The plaque above the entrance reads
Free Memorial Library
Erected in memory of
George M. Conarroe
of Philadelphia Penna:
By his wife August 1897
It happens once in a while...I get caught up in pleasant conversation with library staff and scrimp on note-taking and wandering about.
The corner below is immediately to the right as you enter. The table holds assorted literature about the area and the library.
The need to avoid people in my pictures led to this awkward view of the massive stone fireplace that was once the sole source of heat for the library. The pamphlet that is the source of most of my information (because I was talking, not taking notes) mentions that the interior of the library has changed little over the years.
Though they have very little in common, this library reminds me of the Forest Lodge Library in Cable, WI. I think the common links are consistency over the years and a certain "one-of-a-kind-ness,"
A large room to the left holds part of the collection..
More of the collection. A book sale was underway at a large wooden table in another part of this room..
This is no dollhouse; it's a 2-foot replica of the library, build with stones by a local resident, probably in the 1930s.
I missed the grandfather clock. (I simply needed to turn 180 degrees; no excuses. a kind!) I think the staff person said that his grandfather built it. The leaflet says that it was made from a black walnut piano case, with inlaid designs made from the ivory piano keys. That's got to a one of a kind.
The children's books are limited. I find this understandable, since Ogunquit has long been a tourist town and art colony, and thus quite adult-oriented. However, the six-drawer card catalog has books at least as recent as Harry Potter. I love that the kids get a real card catalog! There are a few plastic kid-size chairs available.
Borrowing privileges at the Ogunquit Library are free to residents of Ogunquit, Wells, York, and Cape Neddick. Visitors may borrow by paying $25, which is refunded when the last book is returned.
Over the years, donors have provided generous endowments that fund the library to this day. This enables the library to operate full-time and year-round "without the aid of any federal, state, or municipal funds." [Donations are always welcome!]