About Bowdoinham Public Library

About Bowdoinham Public Library

L.D. Small and J.H. Ames

March 14. L.D. Small and J.H. Ames as well as other town gentlemen signed incorporation papers to “establish and maintain a public library and reading room” to be housed in the office of Alton C. Small, above the Small’s drug store on Main Street.

Ida Fowle Carras

Ida Fowle Carras (right side of photo) graduates from Coombs High School. Ida will go on to become the telephone agent in town from 1934–41. She lived to the age of 107 and donated to the library both books and financial support. She is among our finest “Library Angels.

The Bowdoinham School Superintendent, School PTA, and High School Principal John McCart met to organize plans to establish a “School and Public Library.

The Bowdoinham School and Public Library was opened to the public in the basement of the Coombs School. It was open two afternoons and two evenings a week.

BPL on Main Street, Bowdoinham

With help from the Davenport Fund, a small building on Main Street was purchased, next to the site of the current Credit Union. A library association was established to oversee the library’s operation.

Eva M. Palmer

Eva M. Palmer took over from Helen Dudley as librarian. Ms. Palmer would hold the librarian job for the next 16 years. We consider Eva Palmer a true “Library Angel.” She is the library’s most generous benefactor to date.

First Plant Sale1974
The first Library Plant Sale was held. The plants were on sale behind Dickenson’s Store and the event raised $131 for the purchase of interior paint for the library.

The name of the library was changed to the “Bowdoinham Public Library”.

Library at Coombs Building
Library located at Coombs Building

Book Brigade

The town gave the library the use of the former Kindergarten Room in the Coombs School building. A “book brigade” of elementary school children organized by Leslie Anderson passed books from Main Street up the hill to the new location on School Street.


A computer was added to the library for public use. The library was expanded into the former 1st grade classroom.A few years later, in 1999, the library launches its first website.

The 30th Annual Library Plant Sale nets $9,853 for library operating budget.

Through the gifts of Ida Fowle Carras’ estate, the library was able to fund new shelving and improvements to the children’s room.

The future is in our hands.

First Library Space

Kate Cutko – Library Director
Jennifer Stonebraker – Volunteer Coordinator
Ann Carmichael – Treasurer

Library Board
Co-Chairs, Joan Knight
and Ann Hartzler
Secretary, Kirsten Coker
Treasurer, Ann Carmichael
Marsha Crouse, trustee
Marlene Hensley, trustee
Kathy Pzczolkowski, trustee

Friends of the Library
* Any resident who attends a scheduled board meeting is considered “a friend of the library” and is eligible for voting and comment during the meeting.

Website – Will Zell – Zellous.org

Circulation & Borrowing Privileges

Registration Requirements

The Bowdoinham Public Library is a tax-supported public library.  This means that people residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Bowdoinham Public Library pay taxes to support the library.  Those people who live or own property within Bowdoinham need pay no additional fee to be eligible to receive their library card.  Library cards are renewed automatically every year without additional fees, provided the library card holder continues to reside within Bowdoinham and is a patron in good standing.

Individuals residing beyond Bowdoinham, may purchase a non-resident card for the price of $10 per year.  This fee entitles the entire family to use the Bowdoinham Public Library.

Students attending any of the SAD75 schools are eligible for a free library card, no matter what town they live in.

Children under the age of 14 must have a parent’s signature on any initial application for a library card.  The application must be completed with both the child and adult present in the library.

Fees and Fines

The Bowdoinham Public Library has established, in addition to the schedule for lost or damaged items, a schedule of fines for overdue materials as well as fees for other services provided by the Bowdoinham Public Library.  The fee  is .05 per day that the library is open, (4 days per week) The fee applies to books, media, and magazines. The over due fee for an eReader is .50 per day the library is open.

Length of Loans

The Bowdoinham Public Library circulates materials in a variety of formats including books, magazines, books on cassette, DVD’s and CDs.  The following terms of loan are applicable as indicated.  All materials circulate for three weeks with two, three week renewals allowed.  If there is a waiting list or hold on any material, no renewals will be allowed.

Lost and/or Damaged Materials

Materials borrowed via any mechanism are the responsibility of the library patron.  Replacement cost (not original purchase price) is the responsibility of any patron who borrows and loses any library material.  In the case of children under the age of 18, it is the parents’ responsibility to pay for lost or damaged items.

Interlibrary Loan

When patrons want material that is not available within the Bowdoinham Public Library, we ask other agencies to provide it.  This is the process of interlibrary loan.  Since the Bowdoinham Public Library borrows materials using the postal service, the patron is asked to pay a $2 fee for the borrowing of each item.  Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan have a circulation period determined by the lending library, not the Bowdoinham Public Library.  We are happy to borrow materials from other libraries for you, but we ask that you respect the date by which those materials must be returned to their home libraries.  When the Bowdoinham Public Library is lax in returning materials borrowed through interlibrary loan, the library can lose the privilege of borrowing materials in that way for any of its patrons.  It is crucial that materials borrowed through interlibrary loan be returned in a timely manner.  Habitual failure to do so may result in individual loss of the privilege in order to preserve the privilege for other library patrons.


Patrons may reserve materials which are not immediately available for patron use, but are in the collection of the Bowdoinham Public Library.  When the reserved materials are available to the patron who has placed the reserve, the library will notify the patron via phone.  The specific title of the material will not be stated to anyone other than the library patron who placed the reserve.  If the patron is not available by phone, a message will be left.  The date of the message will be noted and the material will be held for the patron for a period of one week.  If additional patrons are waiting for the material, the next patron on the list will be called and notified of the availability of the item, and the same procedure will be followed.  If no additional patrons are waiting for the material, the material will be placed back into general circulation.

Confidentiality of Records

The Bowdoinham Public Library abides by Maine Statute Title 27, Chapter 4A section 121 Confidentiality of Library Records which states that the records of patron transactions and the identity of registered library patrons is confidential material.  The Bowdoinham Public Library does not make available the records of patron transactions to any party except in compliance with the law.  The Bowdoinham Public Library does not make available lists of registered library patrons except in compliance with the law.

Circulation and Borrowing Procedures

Overdue Materials Fines

Books:                                     .05  per day, not to exceed $1.00.

Books on Cassette:                 .05  per day, not to exceed $1.00.

Videocassettes:                       .05  per day, not to exceed $1.00.

CD-ROM:                              .05  per day, not to exceed $1.00.

eReaders (nook and Kindle)    .50  per day


Copies:  .15 per page.  If enlargement or reduction is required by the patron, the per page fee applies to each step in that process.  Enlargement and reduction is not an exact science and may take several pages.

Computer printouts:  .15 per page.  This fee applies to all material printed by library printers including, but not limited to, Internet downloads, CD-ROM product information, personal work, and graphics.


ACOA’s Safety and Accessibility Committee put together a “tool table” with items that make everyday life at home and in the car easier to navigate. Have you wondered which jar opener will work best for you? Wished you could find an easier way to get in and out of the car or fasten a seatbelt? Wanted a doorbell or fire detector that can be used by someone with a hearing impairment? The ACOA tool table has solutions to those problems and more. Come and see more than a dozen items that can make everyday life a little easier. Have you wondered how to use the online library catalog? Wished you knew what kind of genealogy databases were available at the library? If you are curious about any aspect of the library or if you just want to browse for a good book, Kate or an assistant will be there to answer your questions. Download “Tools for Everyday Living” which is a guide presented by Bowdoinham’s Advisory Committee on Aging, here.

The Bowdoinham Public Library offers a range of assistive devices to promote universal access to its collections and services. Patrons who need assistance browsing the collection due to a disability may make an appointment with staff for one-on-one help.The library’s Microsoft’s Windows programs come with accessibility attributes that can help some persons with moderate disabilities use computers. Information on using these accommodations can be found online at the Microsoft Ease of Access Center. Patrons using Mac computers can find online assistive technology help here.