History of the Library
It all began in 1830 with seven books in a footlocker in the publishing office of John S. Sayward on Exchange Street. In 1873, the collections of six libraries came together in one location and were known as the Bangor Mechanic Association Public Library. In 1883, with the help of funding from the estate of the Honorable Samuel F. Hersey, this became the Bangor Public Library. In 1905, the Library was housed in rented quarters in Bangor's business district. By 1911 the Library had 70,000 volumes, making it the largest public library in the state. The disastrous fire of April, 1911, swept it all away.
In May 1911, with 29 books saved from the burning building, 1,330 returned by borrowers and 46, which had been at the bindery, the library reopened in two small rooms in the basement of the Court House. The corner stone for a new library was laid June 18, 1912. The building, which you see in this tour, was opened for public use on December 20, 1913. The library remained essentially the same from 1913 until 1994, when a computer automated circulation system and an on-line, public access catalog were added. In 1997, the Library completed a renovation of the building, including a spacious addition designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects.
The Library continues to be an active part of the Bangor community. An average of 1,448 books and other materials are "checked out" of the Library every day. The Library serves as a community center, offering meeting space, programs for adults and children, and monthly exhibits of art and artifacts, while fulfilling its historical purpose "to preserve and disseminate knowledge and thoughts.., to provide recreation through print and to provide a maximum of assistance to its clients in the use of its collections. [the Library] aims to provide material on all subjects likely to be of concern or interest either to present or potential users of whatever age or education."