On February 20, 1887 a group of women from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) met to discuss the possibility of creating a public reading room for the community. A committee was appointed to solicit funds to finance the undertaking and by March of the following year, the constitution and by-laws were in place. By 1906, the community’s first public library was housed in the rear of a store at the corner of Main Street and Vaughn Avenue. As the community continued to grow and the need for a permanent public library increased, a lot was purchased by a sum of money left to the village by the late Nathaniel Bartlett estate and contributions from residents of the village. In addition, a generous donation of $10,000 was made by Andrew Carnegie which helped make the dream of having a public library a reality. From this point on, the library witnessed an overall increase in its collection and use and eventually outgrew its space. In 1963, through the concerted efforts of the trustees and other interested citizens, Caribou was able to obtain a grant of $150,000 from the federal government to help build a much needed addition and remodel the existing building. On December 16, 1964, the edifice was opened for use, with a formal open house being held May 09, 1965. The changes in the structure created a building at least three times as large as the original. Since 1965, a meeting and conference room has been completed on the lower level and a fall-out shelter was built according to state and federal Civil Defense regulations. In 1994, computer technology made its way into this Carnegie facility with the implementation of an automation project which changed the way users retrieve their information. Users now access their information via the on-line catalog as opposed to using a card catalog. In addition to the automation project, two stand alone computers are now available for users for word processing purposes, accessing multimedia CD-ROMs, and Internet access. Audio books and videos have become a welcomed addition to the library’s holdings as well. As the library looks to the 21st century, library staff will strive to give residents the competitive edge needed to thrive in today’s information world by providing the appropriate technology and resources to meet their cultural, recreational, informational and educational needs.
1910: A $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie was accepted.
1911-12: The library was built.
1964-1965: Additional renovations and remodeling included an addition, a meeting room and conference room on the lower level, and an Archival Room.
Designed by Schuyler C. Page of Caribou, Maine Romanesque Revival Style