Celebration on the Lawn, Monday 5:30-7:30

It’s been 125 years!

Join us on Monday August 22nd from 5:30pm-7:30pm for Cake & Punch on the Library lawn to celebrate APL’s 125th birthday. (Rain location Maggie Trafton Room in the Library).

There have been a few changes since we opened August 21, 1891, our commitment to serving our community remains.

From our history:

On October 27, 1890, the Auburn Public Library was officially chartered as “a working library, having the best books of reference, and the standard works of belles-lettres, poetry, philosophy, travel, and fiction; to cooperate with the schools; and to serve the entire community.” TheLewiston Journal’s report of that meeting was headlined: “Founded Well! The Auburn Public Library Gets a Start on the World, and a Happy One, Too. It Is Named, Organized, Officered, Endowed with By-Laws and Gets a Gift of $500 All in One Evening.”

The Journal editorialized, “A modern city without a Free Public Library is an anomaly and in imminent peril of a provincialism which is bad alike for the life and thought and for the spirit of the people. In such a progressive city as Auburn the absence of a free public library is an anomaly. That anomaly is no longer to exist….We may go forward with those extensions in brick and mortar as well as in thought, which are found so valuable in other cities of social and intellectual expansion and which grow as naturally out of good books as oaks from acorns.” (10/25/1890)



Miss Annie Prescott of Auburn was appointed librarian and assumed her duties on July 22, 1891, at a salary of $300 per year. The trustees rented two rooms in the Elm Block, above the Auburn Trust Co., for $375 per year (heated). The library opened for business on August 21, 1891, with 2,150 books and 30 newspapers and magazines. Response from the public was immediate and positive: in the first three months 383 subscribers were listed and circulation was 4,172.



At first only one book could be borrowed at a time; then it was increased to two, only one of which could be fiction. Teachers could borrow three books at a time, “for schoolwork,” for seven days. Children could not get library cards until they were 10 years old.