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Who We Are


To cultivate conversation, learning, enjoyment, and preservation of local history, for the enrichment of the community of Castine.

Library History

Witherle Memorial Library began as a social library– a private collection of books accessible only by paid subscription– in 1801. The Town of Castine took over this organization in 1827, and in 1855, became the first community in Maine to establish a library for a municipality.

In 1901, the library moved its books to the town hall until the completion of a new building in 1913. George and Mary Witherle, local ship chandlers, donated the land and the building, and it is from them that the Witherle Memorial Library received its name.

The library is part of the historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it contains over 16,000 volumes that circulate 20,000 times a year to almost 1,400 registered borrowers.

Governance and Administration

The library is governed by trustees who are Castine residents elected by public ballot for 5-year terms with a limit of two concurrent terms. The Board of Trustees is responsible for library finances and policies.

A professional librarian oversees the day-to-day operations and supervises the staff. The librarian also works in collaboration with the Friends of the Library, who provide essential program funding and volunteer time (see Connect).

The Town of Castine

The library is a part of the robust and thriving community of Castine, which includes Maine Maritime Academy–a four-year college, village merchants, and a range of cultural and arts-based organizations.