History of the Readfield Library

Community Library

The Readfield Library had its beginnings in the early 1960's. Upon Alice Eaton's death, she left her home in the center of town to a group of residents who formed the Little Town Club. All community activities were held in this building including the Lions Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, dancing classes, Home Extension groups, social gatherings, and community meetings of all sorts. The two front rooms were allocated for library use and contained a few wall bookcases.

Feeling a need for a library a group of 20 or 25 women met and formulated a plan. With no money, it was agreed that a library would necessarily need to be a volunteer one and self-sustaining as well. Each would serve as librarian for a year, operating on a rotating basis.

The Maine State Library had a bookmobile to visit and dispense books. Each contained a different assortment - preschool, beginning readers, teenage, adult, non-fiction etc. Folding tables were located and set up in the two rooms where books were laid out on them for selection. The library was open two nights a week with two people working to check books in and out. Books were kept for approximately 2 to 3 months, then collected, returned, and a new shipment would arrive.

As time went by the town began appropriating a few hundred dollars a year to purchase books, increasing gradually as time went by. A time came when the Little Town Club wanted full use of the building and permission was given to use the old brick school which had been empty for years, being used mainly by the Junior Rifle Safety Club. The library was allotted one room downstairs. Businesses in both Winthrop and Readfield were generous so we were able to paint the room, sand the floor, carpet the entrance way, hang curtains, borrow art for the walls, and build lots of bookcases. We were ecstatic to have all that room. Heat was provided by a huge one pipe wood furnace. Families provided wood. Those of us who lived nearby managed the fires, going over during the day to start the furnace so it would be warm for evening hours.

The time came when the town needed the room for office space, so the library moved back to original quarters in the Community House. The town had acquired the building and renovated the facility into the bright, light, airy, and clean area where we are today. Through donations and purchases, we had acquired quite a selection of varied books. And summer visitors frequently comment on what a varied and current selection we have. This is now supplemented by the school libraries which were almost non-existent until the mid 70's.

With the move to the Community House, the town became more supporting and we were able to begin acquiring paid staff and to operate on a more professional basis. Over the years it has been and is still a fine example of community members working together for a worthwhile cause.