Wiscasset Public Library’s mission is to build literacy and provide up-to-date materials and quality services utilizing a wide range of media, sources, and technology to meet the needs of the citizens of Wiscasset and its neighboring communities. The library strives to fill the community’s educational needs, to assist in developing the public’s ability to find and use information, and to stay attuned to the interests of the community in order to improve and expand its services and programs. The library provides a home for genealogical and archival items to preserve local history for posterity. The library supports each individual’s freedom to read, learn, and discover in a welcoming and stimulating environment. The library trustees and staff are committed to fostering the enjoyment of reading, lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, and a sense of community.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING AND LIBRARY
The building was completed in 1805, built for the Lincoln and Kennebec Bank under a Massachusetts Charter of 1802. In the Northwest corner of the basement was a ”Jug Vault”, a brick structure said to have resembled a large bean pot, the top of which was entered through a trap door in the floor of the room above. In it was kept the required reserves of $100,000 in specie.
For some years the second floor was leased to the County for offices of the Clerk of Courts, the Registry of Probate, and the Registry of Deeds. Records were kept there until 1862 when Mr. Isaac T. Hobson converted the building to a private residence. He added a Mansard roof in 1870. The present roof, designed by W. Stanley Parker, was put on in 1936. The wooden ell, once the Children’s Room, was added during Hobson family residency. The new wing, which houses the Children’s Room and the non-fiction collection, was added in 1981.
A succession of several families lived here until 1929 when the building was purchased by a committee of generous donors for use by the library.
The Wiscasset Public Library was incorporated in 1920 by a group of ten Incorporators. It was first established in the Methodist Church on Fort Hill in the winter of 1921, with Mrs. Henry W. Webb as Librarian. It remained there until 1929 when it was removed to its present location. It is, in a sense, the successor to the Wiscasset Social Library that was started in 1799 and was more or less active through the 1800s.