Witherle Memorial Library, the public library in the town of Castine, provides diverse informational, recreational, and educational resources for all people in the Castine environs. The library maintains a collection of print, non-print, and electronic resources, and it accesses such resources elsewhere as needed. Trained staff provides guidance in the use of all resources. The library actively seeks input from and provides outreach to its diverse constituents. Witherle Library cooperates with other agencies locally and statewide to increase the range and cost-effectiveness of library services. The library also offers a meeting place for community groups or library sponsored programs as appropriate.
The history of Witherle Memorial Library begins with the forming of a social library in 1801 (a private collection of books accessible only by paid subscription). The town of Castine took over this organization in 1827, and in 1855, became the first community in Maine to establish a public library. In 1901, the library moved its books to the town hall until the completion of a new building in 1913. The land and the foundation for this new building were donated by George and Mary Witherle, local ship chandlers – 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, the library contains over 13,000 volumes that circulate 20,000 times a year to almost 1,400 registered borrowers. With fully automated circulation, our collections include a wide variety of printed and digital sources.
The library is a part of the robust and thriving community of Castine, which includes a four-year college (Maine Maritime Academy), village merchants, and a range of cultural and arts-based organizations. To find out more about any of these, head to the Town of Castine website.