ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LIBRARY
Less than two decades after Millinocket was incorporated, the Town of Millinocket voted in 1919 to establish a free memorial library. The one-room library, located in the back of the Gonya Block at the corner of Penobscot Avenue and Central Street, opened November 11, 1919 with Mae Shorey as the Librarian.
. . . That wishing to preserve unto future generations the fame of our brave soldiers who lost their lives in the great struggle against Germany and her Allies for the rescue of human rights: We, the citizens of Millinocket, hereby dedicate Millinocket Public Library to the sacred memory of:
Murray Morgan, Harry Boynton, Donald Henry and Lawrence Bradley
. . . And may it be that the present and future generations of Millinocket’s young people that may be benefited by the advantages of this library shall appreciate the services and the sacrifice of these our honored dead, and that they shall strive to emulate their patriotism and their glorious devotion to the call of duty.
THE NEW BUILDING
In 1952, the Town authorized a special appropriation as an initial installment towards a new library building. Over the next 10 years, additional monies were raised, and in 1962, the Town voted to build a new library, at the corner of Maine Avenue and Hill Street. At its dedication on December 11, 1963, it was noted that “the Millinocket Memorial Library, with its modern library program, will become increasingly a part of this Community and will fulfill the original intent of the Towns-people as outlined forty-four years ago.”
THE LIBRARY TODAY
More than 60 years later, in 2016, the library was reestablished as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization distinct from the Town of Millinocket. The library is governed by a Board of Directors made up of 5-15 people. It is funded through a combination of operating revenue, grants and donations, and support from the Town of Millinocket. The Town of Millinocket owns the library building and leases the building to the Board at a cost of $1 per year.
The library is a vibrant community institution and has consistently redefined its services to meet the needs of an evolving community. With over 1800 patrons, the library primarily serves residents of the Katahdin Region, but offers membership to people from around the state and country. In 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, MML launched an initiative called Mobilize Katahdin, to provide transportation services and other basic support like the delivery of meals and medicine.
The library offers access to materials and services including computers, broadband internet, and digital literacy instruction. Another library program, the Katahdin Gear Library (KGL) was created in 2018 to make outdoor recreational equipment available and to offer bike repair, tools, and classes to residents and visitors alike.
In 2020, the library completed Phase 1 of a $1.5M renovation, updating systems and turning the building into a flexible future-proofed facility, with special emphasis on a beautiful new children’s space and meeting rooms with state-of-the-art conferencing equipment.