It all began with seven books in a footlocker. In 1830, a small chest was kept in the publishing office of John S. Sayward on Exchange Street. It contained the first library of the Bangor Mechanic Association. Members could check out two books at a time; their sons or apprentices could check out one. As the collection increased, it was moved to ever-larger reading rooms in several downtown locations.
In 1883 the city accepted $100,000 from the estate of Samuel F. Hersey, which was to be used “for the promotion of education, and the health and good morals of citizens” [of the city]. City Council voted to use the entire sum for the establishment of a public library.
By 1911 the Library had 70,000 volumes, making it the largest public library in the state. The 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.
Today 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 everyday.
Selected Bangor Public Library images:
- Automobile in front of Bangor Public Library
- Public library on fire, Bangor, 1911
- Open House, Dow Field, Bangor, 1945
- Dow Field Anniversary Parade
- Bangor City Hall Committee, c. 1894
- Hancock Street, Bangor, 1941
- Hammond Street, Bangor, ca. 1931
- Central Street Fire Company, Bangor, ca. 1905
- Louise Surrette, Bangor, 1941
- WAC mechanic, Dow Field, Bangor, ca. 1944
- Viner's Shoe Crew
- Bangor Police Officer, Union Railroad Station