Library Hours: Mon 3-6 Tues 10-1 Wed 10-1/4-7 Sat 10-1

About Us


  • Lea Sutton, Library Director
  • Diane Atwood, Assistant Librarian


  • Paula Boyce
  • Bert Gilman
  • Cynthia Fullerton
  • Priscilla Hopkins
  • Sandy Kierstead
  • Robin Sanford
  • Anastasia Sawchuk
  • Terri Whyte

Student Volunteers

Student Volunteer

  • Ella Johnson
  • Kara Johnson
  • Ava Moffett
  • Katherine Wales

Board of Directors

  • Kathy Corbett, President
  • Marlene Scholl, Vice Chair
  • Priscilla Hopkins, Secretary
  • Gregory Smith, Treasurer
  • Cynthia Fullerton
  • Marie Plummer
  • Terri Whyte

Our History

Below are excerpts from A Brief History of the North Gorham Public Library. It was written for the library’s centennial celebration in 1996 by local historian Warren B Gilman, who passed away in 2018. His wife Emma was the librarian from 1977 to 1980, and his son Bert is a current volunteer.

The Beginning

Sources of power are important to every society, and the potential for waterpower development at Great Falls (renamed North Gorham) was an important factor in the settlement of this area, for the falls here was one of the greatest, quick changes in elevation on the Prescumpsot River. In the late 1760s, Zebulon Trickey on the Windham side of the river was the first to utilize this power source to operate his sawmill. He was to have a great, though indirect influence on our library, undoubtedly more than he ever imagined.

Later industrial application of water-power fostered the growth of this community, attracting enterprising and generally better eduated families, and with them came their small, private libraries and increased emphsasis on books and learning in general. Book-borrowing was common in every early American community and grew as the populace became more literate, so an early interest in a circulating library certainly was present here.

The space first devoted to a public library was a small room near the front end of Forest Hall. The construction of this building for civic, religious and temperance meetings, a dramatic club, and other public endeavors had long been discussed, and in 1879, the Sociable Club was organized to raise money for a hall.

The long effort toward this public building finally came to fruition on January 12, 1891. At its dedication, however, it was named Forest Hall.

Exactly when the hall was first used as a library is not known, but it was within a few years after its construction, and continued until 1918, about a quarter century.

A new dam means a new location for the library

The construction of a higher dam in 1900, required the removal of several buildings along the Middle Jam Road in the area which would be inundated and is now under North Gorham pond. Two of these were Forest Hall, and Caleb and Ruel Smith’s store, which had been built next door to the hall, in 1893. The “Smith Bros.” store is mentioned here since it was later to be the library building for many years. In 1899, the hall and store were both relocated on opposite sides of North Gorham Road at the intersection of the Shaw Road, now known as Whipple Road. Tradition says that moving the buildings required lots of bananas to lubricate the skids! 

How quiet the library was when in the hall is an interesting question, for at times the large, adjoining room served as a movie theater, and until 1910, the home basketball court for Windham High School. The library room was small and not a reading room, so it probably mattered little. (Try to tell that to a librarian!)

As an Association, the North Gorham Public Library really got its start in 1896, when the Library received a gift of $600 from Trustees of the Estate of Joseph Walker of Portland, who was also the chief benefactor in establishing the Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook. It is from this date that we mark our 100th Anniversary at this time. [1996]

Just why Joseph Walker would choose to remember the little library at North Gorham is only indirectly documented, but an intelligent guess would suggest it was his business connection with Peter Trickey, Sr., son of the Zebulon Trickey mentioned above. At one time, Walker owned all of Frye’s Island and he and Trickey both were active in harvesting timber in the area around Sebago Lake. Their partnership dates from 1830 until the financial crisis of 1837, when the business failed.

Tradition says that Peter Trickey, Jr. was the first librarian, but the first librarian to make extant records in October of 1904, was 15-year-old Marion Lucretia Moses, later Mrs. Guy Wilson. In 
1908, Mildred Francesca Thomas, later Mrs. Walter N. Harlow, began her first period of service as librarian, serving for twelve years, until 1920.

It was at this time that the Library Association after becoming incorporated on November 21, 1918, (Edward M. Moses, President, and Asa Douglass, Treasurer) acquired Caleb Smith’s store on November 6, 1918, possibly due to the generosity of Professor Charles F. Mayberry, who held the mortgage.

As was mentioned before, when North Gorham Pond was filled, the store and Forest Hall were moved to opposite sides of North Gorham Road at the intersection of what is now known as Whipple Road. Forest Hall was on the dam side overlooking the pond and was eventually dismantled. When the library moved across the street to the store it took over the first floor, and the second floor became a community room.

The rooms above the library played an important role in North Gorham, serving as a hall and kitchen for many a Community Club pot-luck supper through the generosity of the Library Association.

A devastating turn of events

Library Fire

When Mrs. Harlow resigned as librarian in 1920, Georgia White Cummings assumed the position. She served the library for 18 years. In 1938, Mildred Harlow again assumed the role, serving until 1956. From 1956 until she died in 1958, Lulu S. Moses was the librarian. Marjorie Frye Skinner became the librarian from 1958 until 1977. Marjorie was the librarian when disaster struck.

Arson took away our library building in the early morning of Wednesday, July 23, 1975, for the odor of gasoline was noted by the firemen. After the fire, Marj Skinner tried valiantly to dry out badly water-damaged books, and she did save many of them.

Building a new library

Fortuitously, a new fire station was to be built in North Gorham at this time, and the idea for an annex to that building was acted upon in cooperation with the town of Gorham to provide us with new library space.

Many volunteers in the community helped furnish the new facility. A gift of money for white birch veneered material was donated by Bertrand W. Gilman, and Lawrence Merrifield built the fine wall shelves and “island” book shelving. Finishing and applying many layers of protective coating was accomplished by many workers, volunteering free time along with hundreds of hours donated to reorganizing the library.

The new librarian, Emma Gilman, supervised disposing of damaged books and cataloging the hundreds of books given by friends and other libraries. It was a daunting task.

When Emma retired In 1980, Virginia Rundell became the new librarian and served until 2010.

With the help of her husband Clark, and other volunteers she has brought us into the computer age with access to the Internet through her efforts towards library’s participation in a grant from Nynex for a high speed fiber-optic cable. This is a tremendous boon for a small, branch library.

Wendy Wales was the librarian briefly after Virginia retired, followed by Kathy Corbett, who served from 2010 to 2014. Jennifer Plummer took over the position until 2022 when Lea Sutton came on board.

It is because of the devotion and generosity of a long line of dedicated librarians and scores of other individuals that today North Gorham Public Library remains an integral part of its community. No matter its location, the library’s message has always been clear and inviting. All are welcome here.