History

Whitten House c  1938 (2)The first library facility in Topsham was established in 1803 as a “social library for the purpose of promoting knowledge”. In 1931, the first public library was incorporated by a group of community-spirited women who established the Topsham Public Library on the second floor of the Androscoggin Firehouse. In 1941, following that tradition, Sarah Whitten bequeathed her family home at 8 Pleasant Street, which became the library’s location for the next sixty years.

From its conception the Topsham Public Library filled a vital community need for library services and meeting space. Organizations such as Scouts, 4-H Club, American Red Cross, Garden Clubs, the DAR, the Topsham Farm Bureau, and the Village Improvement Association used the library as a meeting place.

As Topsham’s population grew from 2,000 to nearly 10,000, increasing demands were placed on the town’s library. It became apparent to the staff and Board of Trustees that the Whitten home had become inadequate, and a new library facility became an important item in Topsham’s long range plan. In 2000, the library moved to a temporary location at the Navy Annex. The Board of Trustees began in earnest to plan for the new facility.

Topsham Library_Mike TimberlakeIn May of 2004, after a very successful capital campaign, the approval of a bond by town voters, and tremendous effort on the part of the board, staff, and community, Topsham Public Library moved into its first permanent home. This was one of the most significant building projects in the history of Topsham.

Today, Topsham Public Library continues to serve the community as a vital center for meeting, learning, cultural enrichment and dissemination of information. In June, 2014, the library celebrated its 10th year at the Foreside Road location with an old-fashioned ice cream social.