About Our Library

Fort Fairfield first had a privately run subscription library as early as 1865. Citizens of Fort Fairfield and Maysville were chosen as the first officeers. These shareholders, as they were called, each contributed $5.00 or donated books in kind, to be able to take the books out on loan. By 1877 the books were housed in Mr. Trafton's office, a lawyer in town, and it was open Tuesday and Saturday afternoons.

The first public availability of books was started in 1895, with a special meeting of the town, where $100.00 was collected. It was decided to house the books in one corner of Mr. Fred C. Jeffs' jewelry store. By the end of 1895 they had 568 books in their collection.

In 1897, Mr. Charles E. Hoit  took over as librarian and housed the collection in the back of his clothing store. By 1900, Mr. Hoit was making a grand total of $75.00 a year as librarian. The library was closed for most the winter of 1901-1902 due to a diphtheria outbreak in 1901 and a devastating fire in Mr. Hoit's store in January of 1902. The library was reopened in February of 1902.

Disease hit the town once again in the form of small pox, in 1903. Library circulation was greatly curtailed with everyone afraid of the contagion. 

The following years showed a marked increase in the use of the library and it was decided that the library needed it's own building. In 1910 the town petitioned Andrew Carnegie for funds, who at the time was helping to build libraries all across the country. In 1911 Mr. Carnegie sent an offer of $10,000.00 which the town readily accepted. By 1912 a lot, donated by Mr. Hacker, was selected and the materials were ordered. Mr. E. J. Noyes was chosen as the builder. Due to weather set backs, the library wasn't completed until September 1913. The town raised the remaining$600.00 to finish paying off the bills that were not completely covered by Mr. Carnegie's grant. The grand opening was a splendid affair, with many gifts being presented to the library. Mr. Hoit was offered $450.00 a year to continue as the regular librarian, and his son took over the clothing store.