Whenever I travel to a place I’ve never been to before, I always make it a point to stop by the local library if they’re open. I love seeing how public libraries are represented uniquely through different displays, layouts, and architecture. What do communities other than mine value most at their public library? What services do they offer that I’ve maybe never heard of? Overdue Library Travels is a segment that showcases libraries I’ve visited while traveling!
Overdue Library Travels:
Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library
At first glance, the stately Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library gives off quite the historical vibe, as many libraries and buildings do in the Northeast. Sitting at the top of a hill in downtown Boothbay Harbor, the white columns spanning the height of the building beckon all book-lovers to enter.
The building itself was constructed in the 1840s as a private home for a man named Maxwell William Reed. In 1923 the town purchased the property and turned it into their first public library in the following year. It has been renovated four times since it was named the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library to now include a reading room, a children’s room, and a 2nd floor with a Community Room and offices.
The Reading Room was certainly my favorite area of the building. It featured a small coffee table in the center with four Victorian-era looking chairs surrounding it. The large windows offered plenty of sunlight, making it easy to actually picture this room as a reading room in my very own house… simply lovely! I couldn’t help but take advantage of the large reading magnifier in the corner of the room, since I don’t see those often.
I enjoyed the unconventional setup of bookshelves on the walls instead of protruding into the rooms.
After taking a glance at the fliers hanging up in the foyer and browsing their website, it is clear that the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library is well-revered in the community. Some of the services they offer include cloudLibrary, various museum passes, a Minecraft group for kids after school, and a telescope available for checkout. In addition to one-on-one tech help sessions, they also offer online access to True Line, a personal finance how-to website, and Learning Express, a website aimed to help students and adults advance their professional education and careers.
One of the best bonuses of this library is the used book store operated by the Friends of the Library located in the building directly behind the actual library. The several rooms filled floor to ceiling with used books spills out onto the porch, where books are free with an option to donate. While visiting on their last open weekend of the year (due to being a huge tourist town, they close during the winter months), there was a 50% off sale going on. My boyfriend found a book printed in 1923 of John Muir’s writings, still in pristine condition and for only two dollars, what a find! The bookstore is an absolute gem.
If you are a book-lover and ever find yourself in Boothbay Harbor, you owe it to yourself to stop by the library. Don’t just take my word for it, it’s also ranked #7 on Trip Advisor for best things to do in Boothbay Harbor (although I think it should be #1).