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Can You Help Our Free Skowhegan Public Library?

written by Brittnay Kirk

image of Skowhegan Free Public Library

The Skowhegan Free Public library sits on Elm Street along the Kennebec River. It has been here for 115 years. In the front there is 15 minute parking only. We are trying to change this rule so people can enjoy their stay there longer without tickets or towing! Mr. Blynn Currier is now the head librarian and we will meet with him and then the town manager.

Skowhegan library has been here in Skowhegan for more than 115 years and has survived as a historic landmark. But, did you know that if you park in front of our town library you will get a parking ticket? Well it is true because there is not enough space for people to park when they visit our library. Will a small problem like parking cause the library to close on its existing site? This library is so important to our community because we can go there to do homework, use the computers, talk to our friends, learn about all the new books, and have a quiet space to think about life. This place to get away from the world needs to be saved and it needs the neighbors down there to cooperate or pitch in to do their part.

image of Gov. Abner Coburn

This is mighty Abner Coburn. He helped Skowhegan in many ways. The Skowhegan Free Public Library was built in 1889 with money donated by Mr. Coburn. He looks sad here, but he must have been a happy man because he did so much good in his life. He was born on a farm in Old Canaan (now Skowhegan) in 1803 and died in 1885. He was Governor in 1862, and was also a State House Representative. He gave nearly 1,000,000 dollars to charitable causes. It is said that he was kind, and never wasted money, but gladly gave thousands to a good cause.

The Skowhegan Savings Bank owns the land surrounding the land the library sits on. They are being nice to allow enough room for one staff member to park here but it just isn't enough. Staff and visitors are not allowed to park in Carpenter's Insurance parking lot right across the street because their cars will be towed to Waterville if they do.

If only the town would allow 2 spaces in front of the library and two across the road for our parents to park, it would help relieve this problem. Parking from the corner of Elm Street up to just before the bank parking lot would be even better. People just can't afford all these tickets and it keeps them from wanting to visit and get a good book. A town warrant and voting to provide this is necessary or one suggestion has been to reserve at least five spaces in the names of five library patrons.

The Skowhegan Free Public Library was built in 1889 with money donated by Abner Coburn and the town of Skowhegan. Mr. Coburn left $30,000 in his will towards the building of the library. The town donated $10,000 towards a war memorial which is now in the main reading room. The building is on the National Historic Registry and if Mr. Coburn could be here today, I think he would want people to work together to solve any problems because he gave the town this building and many others so that we could have a real community.

For the library to fully keep up with the programs that they do they would like to make some renovations. These changes would allow for more use of technology, more room for children's programs, and provide handicap accessibility. The Bloomfield Trustees need to approve it and the bank needs to give permission for space to be used for handicap transportation and parking.

When we study our town, we have noticed quite a few beautiful buildings that have been destroyed. This library is the most interesting building around with its towers and nice big windows. When you go up the circular stairs, you just feel great about reading and being with the nice people there that help you with your research. It would be so sad to see anything happen to one of the most peaceful places in town. What good would our town be without a historic library? Who wants to go to a library that looks like a trailer but has a big parking lot? If we all help out, I know that the problems with parking and fixing up this enchanting building will get solved. Call your trustees today and tell them what you think about solving this problem.

 


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