Bangor Public Library

Entertainment & Arts

North America, United States, Penobscot County

The Bangor Public Library in Bangor, Maine, USA was founded in 1830 as the Bangor Mechanic Association's private library. In 1873, several other associations' libraries combined with it to form the Bangor Mechanic Association Public Library. In 1883, former U.S. Congressman and lumber baron Samuel F. Hersey left the City of Bangor a $100,000 bequest, which it decided to use to form a municipally-owned public library. The Mechanic Association's 20,000 books formed the core collection. In 1905 the small membership fee was abolished and the library became truly open to all. By 1911, the library's collection had grown to 70,000 books, yet all but 29 were burned in a great fire that year which destroyed most of the business district. The library reopened in May 1911 with the handful of saved books and the 1300 others which had been on loan. The present library building, designed by the Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns, opened its doors in 1913. Unlike the previous building, which was located in the center of the business district, this one was located beside the equally new high school, thus inviting young people to more regularly use it. The library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Great Fire of 1911 Historic District. The library was significantly renovated and expanded with the addition of a new wing in 1997, thanks to a donation from Stephen and Tabitha King. King's story The Library Policeman (in his collection Four Past Midnight) was inspired by his 10-year-old son's expressed fear of returning overdue books to the Bangor Public Library because of "the library police". The Bangor Public Library shares the URSUS online cataloguing system with the University of Maine and other Maine libraries.