HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY
The Thomaston Public Library, currently housed at 60 Main Street, had its beginnings in 1834 as the Thomaston Ladies Literary Association where women over the age of 18 were allowed to lend books. It continued to move forward as an association until the town was approached to form a public library with an appropriation of $300 in 1859.
Because of an “unwise” marriage to a man unliked by her brother, Jennie Fuller forfeited her claim to his legacy of about $13,560 and the monies from George Fuller became seed money for the Thomaston Public Library in 1898. By 1930, there had been numerous generous bequests and donations of materials and the “powers that be” lowered the minimum age for borrowing a book to 9 years old!
In 1986, the library was moved from the Levensaler Block to its current location in the Academy Building at 60 Main Street and in 1998 celebrated its 100th anniversary from March 1998 to March 1999. In 2007, a revived Friends of Thomaston Public Library group was formed with a mission to support the library both with volunteer service, events and financial aid.
Generous grants, especially from Maine authors Stephen and Tabitha King, have allowed renovations to the main library room, creating an appealing “living room” ambiance that boasts displays by local citizens, artists and authors. It is the comfortable venue for programming, including readings by authors and poets, community interest presentations, our monthly Family Movie & Pizza Night, and as a place to sink into a cozy chair and read the local newspapers. The installation of heat pumps in 2013 has created a favorable temperature for our community gathering place year round.
In 2019, we reorganized our collections and what was our children’s room became our Reading Room, home to our adult fiction collection and our quiet space, and it is a lovely spot to relax and read, contribute to solving our community jigsaw puzzle, or accomplish some work. Our children’s area is now on the lower level and has a fun play area with lots of toys, including our LEGO collection, as well as books, DVDs, and audiobooks aimed at children from babies to tweens.
With the support of the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library, we also leased an additional room on the second floor of the Academy Building as a Community Conference Room. In addition to being the new home for our reference collection, it is an ideal space for a variety of gatherings. It has recently been used for our twice-weekly Senior Exercise Classes, Girl Scout meetings, as well as the Coastal Senior College’s Bicentennial Lunch series in February and March 2020 with close to 50 attendees.
Many thanks to Alice Dashiell for her research into the early history of Thomaston Public Library. Interested in reading more? Her complete work, written in 2008, is available in our reference collection!