History of Peabody Memorial Library
1893 to Today
The original goal of the Library Society in it's earliest days was to make good reading material available to young and old in the Jonesport area.
On Sept. 9, 1893 the Jonesport Library and Reading Room Association was formed with Rev. E. Ireland as president and a membership of 99, each paying one dollar annually. Rufus Stevens was elected the first librarian. Books and periodicals were purchased and housed in a room rented from Mr. Nickerson. This location later became the Helen Feeney beauty salon, which started decades of fund raising.
Early in its existence the Library and Reading Room Association began saving for a library building. In 1895, after Col. Peabody of Boston suggested that the Association investigate the possibilities of a building, Mrs. B.B. Mansfield and George Smith met with an architect, a Mr. Gibson, to make plans for a 28 ft. by 40 ft. building. He was also asked to plan a two-story building with a second floor social hall. The town showed little interest in this project and the plans were shelved.
The Association met in early 1900 and voted to donate the books accumulated to the town and the first Free Public Library in Jonesport was born; it was located in a building later owned by Woody Alley. This made the library eligible for town and state aid. By 1905 the number of volumes was 1007 and Mrs. D.D. Kelley was the librarian. Because the library was free to the readers, the members of the Reading Room Association continued to earn funds by selling magazine subscriptions and holding social events. Dues of $0.25/year were collected.
In 1914 a sum of $15,000.00 was bequeathed through the will of Mary Lothrop Peabody to erect a library building in memory of her husband, Oliver White Peabody and her brother, Samuel Kirkland Lothrop. The Peabody Memorial Library Corp. was formed by D.O. French and a committee of interested citizens. O.W. Look was elected to preside as the first president of the Library Board of Trustees. The corporation still functions today. Plans for a 30 ft by 60 ft building were drawn up. It was to include a social room with a fireplace and stage where the present Librarian's desk is located. The cellar was to be used as an area to prepare books and circulation. It was to be serviced by a dumbwaiter. The children's area was to be small and tucked into a back room. These plans didn't actually make it into the construction project and the older section of the Library is what was built. The Jonesport Library and Reading Room Association continued to be active for many years earning funds with which to purchase books.
In the early 1970's, the library received a face-lift through the efforts of the Jonesport Literary Club. The library was chosen as the club's Community Betterment Project. The book collection was culled and re-cataloged. Fresh paint brightened the interior and new bookcases made books more accessible. A children's corner was created and closer cooperation with the schools was initiated.
The last twenty years have seen many changes. A well was drilled which allowed us to drain the cistern in the cellar thus eliminating a major cause of mold growth. A new septic system was installed in 2003. The exterior bricks have been resealed twice and trim has gotten a fresh coat of paint in places and vinyl trim in others. Shrubs were planted and maintained. Weak and/or dying maple trees have been removed.
The book collection continues to grow. We try to have something for everyone. A computer and a printer were added several years ago for the use of patrons. Two new computers have upgraded our system as has a new printer. On April 24, 2006, ground was broken for a new handicap accessible wing which has given us some much needed space. It has doubled the size of the library. We have been able to expand what the library now offers to the Town of Jonesport.
We now offer comfortable seating/reading areas, longer hours with extended hours during the summer. Display areas for local arts and crafts, and historical material. The Taubenberger Wing is being used by: Art in the Library for it's exhibitions, and the new wing has hosted 96 meetings in the current year, showing the Library's new role as a Community Center. This new wing is named for two people who dedicated decades of effort to the Peabody Memorial Library. They started their volunteer work about 50 years ago and have since passed away but continue to support the library through their will. It is for these many hours selflessly given to the library that the Board of Directors decided to honor them by naming the new addition the Taubenberger Wing.
While there is still much room for improvement, the library stands as a fitting memorial to the many who have labored to create and maintain it all these years. Our librarians have a long tradition of service to the library, and the community. They include:
1915-1940 Mrs. D.D. Kelley, Librarian; Gertrude Smith, Assistant
1940-1955 Jennie Leighton
1955-1975 Marion Hall
1975-1976 Elna Hinkley
1977- 1979 Barbara Young as acting Librarian under the CETA Program with Eleanor Taubenberger as supervising Librarian
1980-1986 Barbara Young, Librarian; Sheila Crowley, Assistant
1986-2006 Barbara Hall, Librarian; Beryl Smith and Diane Jameson, Assistants
2006-2007 Helen Messemer-Thomas
2008-Present Heidi Hinkley, Librarian; Joyce Bryant, Assistant Librarian (2013) Lacee Johnson, Assistant Librarian (2009-2012); Kylie Hinkley, Summer Assistant
Come visit the library and see what is going on. There are many changes happening these days. You can be part of these changes.