Library History from Town Reports
The old Millinocket town reports contain a wealth of historical information. Last week’s column regarding Carl Hull’s preserving of every mention of Millinocket in the Bangor Daily (Commercial?) from 1921-26 led me to search the town reports for those years. Hull submitted the library report for the fiscal years 1922-23 and 1923-24. The 1924-25 report was authored by librarian Sara R. Coffin in February of 1925. Hull retired June 1924 and apparently kept on preserving the news articles even after he was no longer librarian.
The first town library opened 11/11/1919 on Central Street with Mae Shorey as librarian. The 1920 town report states the library was “established in the Stearns building.” The question - was the building with the library on Central St. referred to at that time as the Stearns building and later known as the Decker/Gonya block and then the Gonya Drug Store building??
That original library site was secured for “low rental” and “the furniture and equipment is of the latest and best adapted design.” GNP contributed $1000 for the furniture purchase. All the first books were donated by individuals and organizations. “A most appropriate and highly appreciated gift to the library during the year is the beautiful picture of Sir Galahad presented to the library by Mr. & Mrs. James Bradley as a perpetual memorial to their son Lawrence J. Bradley, one of Millinocket’s gallant young soldiers who fell in the late war.”
Reports submitted to the town, 1920-1926, were: 1920 – Report by Library Committee, mentions Mrs. Mae Shorey as attendant; 1921 Kathleen M. Snow, librarian; 1923 and 1924 Carl W. Hull, librarian; 1925 – Sara R. Coffin, librarian; 1926 – Lora D. Gagnon, librarian.
By early 1921, reports were already indicating the space was inadequate and more staffing was needed. A special area was needed for a children’s department. The 1923 report stresses the need for “a reading room as the space is very crowded and the children at present take up most of the table accommodation.” The new space for the library did not occur until December, 1963 when the library at 5 Maine Avenue was dedicated. And now, in 2020, a newly renovated library is here for the people of Millinocket!
Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM, weather permitting! In the Museum Store! *** Get your 2021 Calendars! Theme: Millinocket, Oh! How We’ve Changed! $12 each, mail orders add $5 SH each calendar. Each page has several photos from different areas of town (Society Hill, park area, Medway Rd., Outer Bates St., Across Tracks, Aroostook Ave., and more). *** Preowned yearbooks - $10.00 each. *** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin. *** DVD’s, Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each). ***Books: “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” (Bill Geller) $30.00; “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” (Moody) $18.00; “Tanglefoot,” (Edwards) $15.00; “Millinocket” (D. Duplisea) $20.00; “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks - $15.00; both Laverty books, $25 history & $10 architecture; “Our Real World,” (M. Murphy); “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00 and several preowned books (out of print) by local authors. *** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item. *** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or email@example.com or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.