Library Visit: Ogunquit Memorial Library, Maine

Happy New Year!

What could be a better first post for the new year than a library visit? We’ve been up in Maine for some R&R and couldn’t resist checking out this adorable field stone library in the seaside town of Ogunquit.

Ogunquit Memorial Library
166 Shore Road
Ogunquit, ME
ogunquitlibrary.com

Ogunquit, Maine has long been a summer resort town. In the late nineteenth century George and Nannie Conarroe of Philadelphia summered in the area for many years and fell in love with the quaint seaside town. When George passed away Nannie wanted to commemorate her husband and commissioned the Ogunquit Memorial Library in August 1897 as a lasting gift to the community. She also donated 1, 500 of her own books to get the collection started. The library opened its doors to the public in June 1898.

Designed by: Charles M. Burns in the H.H. Richardson Romanesque tradition.
Contractor: Edward B. Blaisdell of York.
On the National Register of Historic Places.

The box on the pole is a donation receptacle. The library relies on endowments and donations. It receives no federal, state, or local government funds.
A closer shot of the beautiful front doors which were hand crafted by Matthew Browne and The Rovnack Group in 2007.
At work: one of the three librarians who keep the library going. When we visited there were two locals returning, browsing, and checking out books. The librarian said they are a little slow in the winter (many of the town’s hotels, restaurants, and other businesses close over the winter months), but she added that the library is “well used” in the warmer months. When the library was first built the fireplace was its only source of heat.
Work space and stacks in the addition that was added in 1914 by Luther Weare, one of the original trustees.
Postcard of the original library prior to the addition (source: Johnson Roberts Associates)
View from the addition looking toward the front door.
Local maps
Another work space.
Replica of the library made of small stones by local resident Winaloe Stonehill in the 1930s.
Cather on the shelf.

 I love the architectural detail on the roof ridge which is visible in this shot.

What a great library to kick off the New Year! I’m looking forward to exploring more of New England and its historic libraries in 2016.

Author: Chris Wolak

I'm cohost of the podcast Book Cougars: Two Middle-Aged Women on the Hunt for a Good Read and write about books and libraries on my blog, WildmooBooks.

10 thoughts

  1. What a cozy little place! Ogunquit is a lucky community. Chris, I wonder if you'd be interested in doing a guest post for my Reading New England challenge/event next year — maybe about New England libraries? Email me if you would like to! lory [at] emeraldcitybookreview [dot] com

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  2. It was closed the two times I visited Ogonquit summer before last! I really wanted to check it out because of the stone. It's so cute and quaint! I need to get back up there over the summer.

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  3. The stone is so striking. They did a great job with the addition–I had no idea it wasn't original until I did some research. If you're staying up there you can get temporary borrowing privileges for a $25 deposit that you get back when you return the books.

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