#AtoZChallenge: Libraries

Could L be for anything else but Libraries?

Jay Niles Memorial Library is the library in my hometown. The children in the Niles family donated the building and funds to construct a public library for community members. Construction was finished in 1918, and since then, a new addition and an influx of materials has made the library a pillar of the town. Many of my childhood summers were spent participating in the summer reading challenge, most of the movies I watched were checked out from the library, and it’s where I discovered some of my favorite authors and novels that I still read today. There are few things as dear as a hometown library.

I say “a few things,” because the library of my alma mater is also one of the places I hold quite near and dear to my heart. Raymond H. Fogler Library is one of Maine’s academic and public Carnegie libraries,  which you can learn more about here. It is named after alumni Raymond H. Fogler, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maine in 1915. After receiving his master’s at Princeton, he returned to Maine to work for the Agriculture Extension Service. From 1953 to 1957, Fogler served as the last Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and was on the Board of Directors at UMaine from 1955 to 1962, the year the library was dedicated to him. Since then, a few building additions and millions of materials have been incorporated into the original design, and if you have ever seen an ad or photo of the University of Maine, you’re likely to have seen the library. It stands on the south side of the campus mall, and is quite photogenic. Its history is almost as rich as the contents, and if you ever visit Orono, Bangor, or the University of Maine, you must see for yourself its beautiful main staircase, the Presidents’ Room, the completely quiet third floor, the stacks, and the mysterious-feeling passageways linking the old building to the new parts. I really want to go there right now…

Currently, the library I frequent is the Portland Public Library. Opened in 1979, this library isn’t as historically charming as the previous two I’ve talked about here, but with its location in Monument Square, there is history all around. A major renovation in 2010 expanded space to house a children’s library and a teen library, as well as cultural, technology, and adult centered reading and programs. For a modern building it is stunning (I’m not usually charmed by new buildings); the glass facade allows any passerby to see inside, createing a transparency that offers the warm welcome of a public building made for learning, growing, and discovery. On any given day you can visit the Lewis Gallery or an event in the Rines Auditorium, and if you’re lucky enough, view travelling books and historical texts (PPL is where I got to see Shakespeare’s First Folio). So if you don’t venture further north than Portland (which, why wouldn’t you?), stop in at the library. Except on Sundays, when it is not open.

Have you ever visited the libraries of my heart? Share your favorite library or library memory, and then hurry along for a visit and check something out. Visit the American Library Association’s website for news and happenings on all things library, and I’ll even suggest donating to the ALA, or even better, your local library. Happy reading!


  • anhistorianabouttown

    My favourite library has to be the Trinity College Library with the Long Reading Room- I have to say, it makes every Buzzfeed list of gorgeous libraries for a reason!! Marsh’s Library (also in Dublin) is fascinating, as well. (I actually have a post coming up on the two!) If you are looking for a cool modern library, the Seattle Public Library is very cool and although it’s super modern, is also totally worth wandering around if you happen to be in Seattle! It’s very welcoming, and super intriguing 🙂

    • kmac14

      I love those library lists! I think I experience the most wanderlust when looking at libraries in other parts of the world. Thanks for the recs! 🙂

  • Gary

    I feel like a heathen now 🙁 There is a library here, but I haven’t been inside for years. I trend to haunt book stores instead. Not sure why that is or when the change occurred come to think of it. Libraries are a hub of community clubs now as well as the repository of many a tome from fact to fiction to, well, whatever. I think ours even sports a café and Wi-Fi zone (shows how long it has been since I went in). I am suddenly feeling the urge to visit after reading this too !!

    • kmac14

      Libraries have definitely begun to include more amenities to attract many members of the community, whether they check out a book or not – which makes me love them even more! I hope you get to pay a visit to yours soon. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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