“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”

~ Andrew Carnegie ~




Prior to a formally organized and town funded library, the first known reference to a library of sorts in Hartland was made in the 1896-1897 Maine State Yearbook and Legislative Manual listed as; “Library – Albert W. Miller, Librarian, 200 Volumes; Circulating Only.”


Circulating Library’s were private business ventures intended to profit from lending books to the public for a fee. Also known as Lending Libraries or Rental Libraries, they offered an alternative to readers who could not afford the price of new books but desired new reading material. Circulating Libraries were very popular and were the first to serve women and actively seek out their patronage so it was no coincidence that many of these libraries were located in millinery stores, stationery stores and drug stores. Their decline in part began with the introduction of cheaper paperback books in the early 1900s and the establishment of new public libraries. (Compiled from Wikipedia)


Miller maintained this private book collection for several years at his A. W. Miller Drug Store, then located at the Hartland Drug Store building on Commercial Street , until 1902 when he returned to his original store building on Main Street with no mention of any type of library in the 1901-1902 Maine State Yearbook upon his relocation.

Although the specific details are unknown, Miller’s return to his former (and smaller) building along with the decline in popularity of Circulating Libraries may have in part prompted concerned citizens and the town to consider establishing and funding a formal public library in Hartland. Mr. Miller was also a Town Selectman at the time and later became the Secretary and Treasurer of the Hartland Public Library.

A. W. Miller Drug Store, Linn Block & Linn Woolen Mill Main Office – Commercial Street – c1901


The first known reference to a Public Library in Hartland comes from the 1902-1903 Hartland Town Report:

Article 32 – To see what sum of money the town will vote to give to the Hartland Free Library and to accept any contribu­tions that any parties may desire to make for the same.” ($50 was appropriated)


On December 30, 1903, it officially incorporated as the Hartland Free Library with its first temporary location at Library Trustee George Merrill Lancey’s Store on Commercial Street for a couple of years. Trustees reported at the end of the first year it had 523 books and 320 borrowers.

G. M. Lancey Dry Goods & Groceries – Commercial Street – c1901


The new library and its rapidly growing collection of books & magazines were soon moved to a space at the Opera House-Town Hall  and as later noted by Library Trustees in 1910, “The Hartland Town Hall Association has charge of the Libra­ry”. The Library Trustees ultimate goal of building or purchasing a dedicated facility is noted throughout early library reports however it would remain at the Opera House until 1935.

Hartland Opera House ~ Town Hall – Academy Street


As it was funded in part by the town, its inventory, financial reports and a general summary of the library became a regular part of Hartland Town Meeting Reports. They were originally created for town reports by Library Trustees until 1917 when they were submitted by the Librarian and Library Treasurer. Several of these reports are presented below from decade to decade showing the library’s progress over the years.


Additional Annual Library Reports in Hartland Town Reports may be found on the link below to Folger Library – University of Maine at Orono

Hartland Town Report Collection


 Library Report 1905-1906

No. Volumes in Library as of March 1, 1905…..1,200

No. Volumes added during the year…………………194 

Total No. Volumes as of March 1, 1906……….1,594

No. of Borrowers during the year…………………….570

No. of Volumes loaned………………………………….4,464

From July 15th to September 1st, the library was closed. Every book was accounted for and 65 books were rebound. Several years of magazine subscriptions have been given to the library and as they were considered especially helpful reading, they were bound. We realize that the books of today, especially fiction, are bound cheaply and therefore we urge patrons to be careful in handling them.

It is very gratifying to see so many children coming to the library. A taste for good reading acquired in youth is a great factor in forming the characters of our citizens. The teachers in our schools are doing much to instill into their pupils a taste for good reading by reading during the session from the books on the children’s stack. This method interests them in the books and they then want to read more books. We would urge those having the care of children to be very particular and place good reading before them. The reading table is supplied with good reading for old and young.

The library is open every Wednesday from 2 to 5pm and every Friday from 2 to 5pm and 7 to 9pm.


Balance on Hand ………………………………..     47. 67

Fines on Books ……………………………………… 12. 61

Dues Hartland Library Association…………… 1. 50

Supplies and Books sold………………………….. 5. 68

Received from Mrs. Anna F. Osborn…………. 6. 50

Received from Lend-A-Hand Society………. 72. 12

Received from W. Evans, Entertainment…  19. 00

Town Appropriation                                      100. 00

Total Receipts                                               $265. 08



Freight and Express………………………………    7. 42

Insurance …………………………………………….. 14. 05

Annual Salary of Librarian…………………….. 55. 25

Bills for Books…………………………………….. 148. 50

Supplies for Library ……………………………….. 5. 47

Bill for binding books……………………………. 51. 40

Bill for Wood …………………………………………. 6. 40

Stacks for books and Case …………………….. 8. 70

Cash on Hand                                                  7. 89

Total Expenses                                          $265. 08


Library Building Fund ……………………….   154. 01

Value Books & Magazines Donated ……    41. 75

Submitted by Hartland Free Library Directors; Anna F. Osborn, George M. Lancey & Fronia S. Trafton


Tribute was paid in 1911 to Mrs. Anna F. Osborn, an original Director of the Hartland Free Library, who moved away in 1910.

“The Library Association regrets the loss of Mrs. Osborn from the town. The success of the library has been largely due to her conscientious and untiring efforts. With your assistance we hope to continue the good work as it has been done in the past.”


Hartland Library Association Officers & Directors met annually to discuss library business.

Minutes of Hartland Library Association Officers & Directors Annual Meeting – March 1, 1913


“We wish especially to call the attention of the people of Hartland to a gift of $200 from the Hon. D. D. Stewart of St. Albans. This was given to the library to enlarge the shelf room, buy a stove, and give us more new books which were badly needed. This was attended to in the summer while the library was closed.”  – 1914 Town Library Report


David Densmore Stewart was born in Corinna, the son of David Steward & Elizabeth Merrick, and graduated from Hartland Academy then studied law at Bowdoin College. He moved to St Albans where he was a successful lawyer and state politician for the remainder of his life. He spent the last few years of his life disbursing his personal accumulated wealth and the vast fortune he inherited from his brother, Levi Merrick Stewart (1827-1910), who also attended Hartland Academy for a time. Among David’s other generous contributions to Hartland were funds for a new Athletic Field behind Hartland Academy in 1914 and remodeling the Academy gymnasium.

David Densmore Stewart (1823-1917)


The Outlook Club was first organized as a literary club in 1899 by a group of ladies from Hartland including Dr. Jennie Fuller, Mrs. Jennette Schwartz, Mrs. Abbie Moulton and Mrs. William Stewart. Along with their regular club programs for book readings, they became generous supporters of the Hartland Public Library through fund raising cash contributions and donated books. They also participated in several other local civic fund raising activities such as sponsoring a local girl to attend Maine Legislature Day and bestowed numerous scholarships funds.

Outlook Club Annual Program Cover for 1908-1909


Some of those mentioned by Library Trustees in early Town Reports who served as Librarian during the first years of operation included Miss Eunice Linn and Mrs. Dora (Hazelton) Libby. The first person to make a report as Head Librarian was Mrs. Nellie W. Haley in 1917.


The Spanish Flu Pandemic affected schools, Town Meetings and various other public gatherings including the Library as noted In 1918;

“The library was closed for its usual repair work in August and also on account of Influenza for two weeks in October and again in November.”


Library Report 1919-1920


No. State books in library March 1, 1919                                474

No. State books added during the year                                     11

No. of other books in the library March 1, 1919                 2,851

No. of other books added during the year                             242

No. of books discarded                                                               20

Total No. of books in the library March 1, 1920               3,551

Books delivered for home use                                               7,289

Magazines delivered for home use                                          438


We are grateful to the following friends who have given books this year; Mr. Walter Moore, Mrs. Lancey, Mrs. Grace Williams, Kit Kat Komedy Klub, Mrs. Robert Linn, Mr. Henry Getchell, Mrs. Annie Fuller, Mrs. Brann and Miss Elizabeth Linn.

Respectfully submitted, Mrs. Nellie Wade Haley – Librarian




Cash on hand March 1, 1919                          42.84

Received from town                                       150.00

Received from Kit Kat Komedy Klub              83.70

Received from State                                         15.00

Received from fines                                         22.21

Received from new books                                6.70

Received from dues                                           2.25

Sale of one book                                                  .25

Total                                                               $322.95



Librarian salary                                             100.00

New books purchased                                 143.00

Magazines                                                        15.25

Insurance                                                          12.85

Supplies                                                               6.40

New steps for door                                            2.37

Cleaning library                                                  1.00

Shoveling path                                                     .50

Kindling                                                                 .15

Total                                                               $281.52


Cash on hand                                                    41.43

Building Fund                                                  281.52

Total                                                                $322.95

Respectfully submitted, Mrs. Marguerite Burton – Secretary and Treasurer (Wife of Elmer Burton)


Around 1916, Hartland native Mrs. Addie Mary (Coston) Smith began working at the Library. Mary later succeeded Mrs. Nellie Haley in 1923 as Head Librarian and continued serving in the position until her retirement in 1966.

Addie Mary (Coston) Smith (1884-1971)


“We wish to express through this report our appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Hanson, who presented to Hartland Free Library 450 volumes of reference books from the home library of the late Hon. David D. Stuart containing books on History, Biography, and other subjects.”  – 1927 Town Library Report


Library Report 1929-1930


No. State books in library March 1, 1929                593

No. State books added during year                         9

No. fiction and non-fiction, March 1, 1929             5,744

No. fiction and non-fiction added                            426

No. of books discarded                                              310

Total No. books in library                                         5,860

Books delivered for home use                                 12,263

Magazines delivered for home use                          279


At this time we wish to thank the following list of patrons who have so kindly remembered the library with gifts of books and magazines the past year; Elizabeth Linn, Grace Williams, Annie Fuller Linn, Maud Carr, Sarah Fuller, Eunice Linn, Annie Lancey, Ada Wilbur, Annie Hersey, Nellie Haley, William Russell, Edison Goodrich, Harold Heath, Norman Huff, Vincent Goforth and Albert Ordway.

Respectfully submitted, Mrs. Mary Coston Smith – Librarian




Balance on hand March 1, 1929                     72. 61

Received from town                                        500. 00

Received from State                                         60. 00

Received for dues and fees                             12. 85

Received from Outlook Club                           28. 00

Total                                                                $673. 46



Insurance                                                            39. 55

Books                                                                 188. 63

Magazines                                                           31. 30

Librarians salary                                              250. 00

Supplies                                                               30. 73

Expenses of librarian to library meeting         2. 83

Wood and labor, George Goodwin                15. 20

Kindling                                                                 1. 00

Library Association dues                                    4. 00

Maine State Library for traveling library         1. 25

Total                                                                $564. 49


Balance on hand March 1, 1930                   108. 97

Building Fund Balance March 1, 1929      1,118. 43

Received from Outlook Club                           42. 00

Interest                                                               51. 88

Balance on hand March 1, 1930              $1,212. 31

Respectfully submitted, Miss Ina M. Moulton – Treasurer (Daughter of Dr. Charles A. Moulton)


In 1862, Archibald Linn had moved to Hartland and built the Linn Woolen Mill on Main Street. He also built a company office on Commercial Street which continued to serve as headquarters for the American Woolen Company when they took over the business in 1916.

Following the American Woolen Company’s bankruptcy in 1932, numerous real estate holdings they had obtained from the Linn Woolen Mill takeover were auctioned off, however several buildings were kept under control by Hartland Mills, Incorporated who had formed to find a suitor for the abandoned mill. One of several buildings Hartland Mills, Incorporated acquired was the former Linn Woolen Mill Main Office.

Hartland Drug Store, Linn Block & American Woolen Company Main Office – Commercial Street


Several unsuccessful attempts by Hartland Library Trustees to purchase the former woolen mill office building were made until a special Hartland Mills, Incorporated Stock Holders Meeting was held on September 25, 1935. Library Trustees Dr. Charles A. Moulton & George M. Lancey pleaded their case in detail for the building to be sold so it could be used as a permanent home for the library which was still operating out of the Opera House~Town Hall at the time. This time the proposal was accepted by a substantial majority of the stock holders and following a special Town Meeting to formally vote on the proposed sale, it became the first dedicated home of the Hartland Public Library in 1935.

First Dedicated Home of the Hartland Public Library – Commercial Street


“We wish to extend our appreciation to the many friends and patrons who responded so readily to our many calls for help while moving into our new library and for books and magazines donated the past year.”  – 1936 Library Report 


Library Report 1939-1940


No. State books in library Feb. 1, 1939 ………………………. 65

No. State books added………………………………………………… 6

No. fiction and non-fiction, Feb. 1, 1939 ………………… 6,616

No. fiction and non-fiction added …………………………….. 275

No. fiction and non-fiction discarded………………………….. 25

Total number books in library ……………………………… 6,866

Books delivered for home use……………………………….. 12,677

Magazines delivered for home use…………………………….. 396

No. books rented from rental library……………………….. 1,256

Rental books presented to library………………………………… 85


We wish to express our appreciation for books, magazines and money donated the past year.

Respectfully submitted, Mary Coston Smith – Librarian


Hartland Public Library Book Mark


“We wish to express at this time our appreciation to the Misses Margaret and Marion Morrison for their kindly and thoughtful gift of money for a Children’s Room.”  – 1948 Library Report


Margaret Morrison (1876-1948) and her sister Marion Morrison (1881-1967) were born in Hartland while their father was working at the Linn Woolen Mill. They spent some of their childhood in Hartland before the family moved in the early 1890s and eventually resided in Dexter. Their sister Tina Morrison passed away at just under 2 years old in 1880 while the family was living in Hartland and is interred at Ireland Cemetery.

In 1947, they made a $1,500 donation to the Hartland Public Library to build a Children’s Room with the balance to be held in a trust fund. Margaret had been ill at the time as noted in her obituary and passed away on December 23, 1948 at 72 years old. She and Marion are interred with their parents at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Dexter. Marion continued making additional cash donations to the library over the years and The Morrison Children’s Fund and its earned interest would be perpetuated for decades by the library as an important source of their funding.


Library Report 1949-1950


Number of State Books in Library Feb. 1, 1949 ………… 692

Number of State Books added ……………………………………. 2

Number of Fiction – Non-Fiction ……………………………. 9,965

Number of Fiction – Non-Fiction added ……………………. 100

Total number of Books in Library ……………………… 10,065

Number Books delivered for home use ……………….. 10,350

Number Magazines delivered for home use……………… 170

Number Books rented from Rental Shelf …………………. 960


We wish to express at this time our appreciation for the Books and Money donated this year.

Respectfully submitted, Mary Coston Smith – Librarian


MORRISON CHILDREN’S FUND (From Treasurer’s Report)

Cash on hand February 1, 1949                             $ 401.66

Loaned Regular Fund                                                    51.01

Balance on February 1, 1950                                  $ 350.65

Respectfully submitted, Miss Ina M. Moulton – Treasurer


Meanwhile in 1956, Donald Shorey built a new dedicated location on Mill Street for his existing funeral home business in Hartland. Although the event was unrelated to the library at the time, it would later play a significant role in the library’s future.

Construction of Donald Shorey Funeral Home –  Mill Street – 1956


Library Report 1959-1960


Number of State Books – January 1, 1959                   801

Number of State Books Added                                         1

Number of Fiction – Non-fiction                               12,424

Number of Fiction – Non-fiction Added                        272

Total Number of Books                                           12,696

Number of Books Delivered for Home Use            8,361

Number of Magazines                                                   191

Number of Books Rented from Rental Shelf              75


Many more books were donated this past year. We are grateful to all the townspeople, The Outlook Club, and people from other towns for their gifts of books and money.

Respectfully submitted, Mary Coston Smith – Librarian




Cash on hand February 1, 1959                      588.44

Received from Town                                      1,500.00

State Stipend                                                        84.00

Outlook Club                                                        50.00

Marion Morrison                                                 50.00

Outlook Club Meetings                                      16.00

Dues                                                                        6.05

Insurance Dividend                                              3.90


From Mr. and Mrs. Rae Randlett

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Hollister

Mrs. Lillian Towle                                                10.00_

                                                        Total      $2,308.39



Librarian’s Salary                                              611.52

Social Security                                                     31.20

Central Maine Oil Co.                                       358.78

Central Maine Power Co.                                   35.51

Maine Library Association Dues                         1.00

Books and Magazines                                     183.68

Supplies                                                               26.85

Floor Tile                                                            161.05

Bank Charge                                                         2.40

Postage                                                                  2.47

Labor                                                                   19.50_


Cash on hand February 1, 1960                   514.27

Morrison Fund – Cash on hand                    292.90_

                                                       Total      $2,308.39

Respectfully submitted, Bertha G. Moore – Treasurer (Wife of Merrill A. Moore)


“We respectfully dedicate this 1966-1967 Annual Report to MARY COSTON SMITH in appreciation of her many years of unselfish service as Librarian of the Hartland Free Library. We will ever be grateful to her for instilling in many generations of our school children, a love of good reading.”  – Municipal Officers ~ Town of Hartland


Upon Mary’s retirement, Mrs. Ethel (Webster) Fox (1895-1994) began her tenure as Head Librarian at the Hartland Public Library.

Hartland Public Library – Commercial Street – 1988


Library Report 1969-1970


No. of Books in Library Jan. 1, 1969 Fiction and Non-fiction            15,052

New books added                                                                                         396

Total number of books January 1, 1970                                             15,448

Delivered for home use                                                                             1,608

Circulation of magazines and records                                                        381


Our sincere thanks to Mrs. Ernestine Carson for the many books brought to the Library and also to Mrs. Ardis Stewart for books.

Respectfully submitted, Ethel W. Fox – Librarian



Cash on hand February 1, 1969                       592.66


Town of Hartland                                            5,000.00

State Stipend                                                         99.70

Outlook Club                                                         50.00

Outlook Club Meetings                                       12.00

Dues and fines                                                     26.12

Donations                                                               2.00

Interest from Morrison Trust Fund             4,058.98

Total                                                                $7,841.46



Librarian’s Salary                                            1,300.00

Insurance                                                              67.75

Social Security                                                   129.60

Staples Oil Company                                       431.40

Central Maine Power Co.                                  59.46

Hartland Water Company                                34.76

Bank Service Charges                                         3.80

Check Book                                                          3.85

Books and Magazines                                    338.95

Rebuilding Cellar Wall                                    616.50

Labor, Cellar Wall                                              96.00

Materials, Cellar Wall                                        61.35

Mowing Grass                                                      8.00

Supplies                                                                6.00

Total                                                             $3,157.42


Cash on hand February 1, 1970

Checking Account Balance                           625.06

Savings Account Balance                           4,058.98

Total                                                             $7,841.46

(Treasurer not noted in report)


Mrs. Ethel Fox retired in 1976 and was replaced by Mrs. Grace Woodman as Head Librarian.


Library Report 1979-1980


Books on hand January 1979                                16,986

Books Added                                                                 370

Books Discarded                                                            59

Total Books on hand January 1980                    17,297

Circulation Books                                                     3,959

Magazines Circulated                                                 342

Magazines Available                                                     23

Respectfully submitted, Grace D. Woodman – Librarian




Balance on hand Dec. 31, 1978                   2,154.59

Received from Town                                     3,500.00

Dividends                                                           207.08

Petty Cash                                                            87.00

Outlook Club                                                       59.08

Morrison Fund                                               1,400.00

Sale of Book                                                         10.00

State Stipend                                                     281.00

Total                                                              $7,698.75



Edith Weitzki                                                      92.80

Beulah Stromback                                            60.00

Librarian Salary                                            2,320.00

Books                                                             1,000.32

Magazines                                                        212.99

Hartland & St. Albans Telephone Co.            86.94

Hartland Post Office; Stamps                         13.20

Randlett & Son; Cleaning Materials               18.40

Edgar Woodman; Bulbs                                     9.46

Gaylord Bros.; Labels, Guide                            7.65

Beulah Stromback; Envelopes                         1.00

Leslie R. Goodridge; Insulation                1,400.00

Charge for printed checks                             12.42

Grace Woodman; Postage, Travel                51.72

Shari Vigue; Children’s Party                           6.45

Hartland Water Company                             46.83

McNichol Oil Company                                837.50

Central Maine Power Company                 117.58

Total Expenditures                                    6,295.27

Balance on hand Dec. 31, 1979              1,403.48

Total                                                          $7,698.75



Balance Forward 1979                            21,543.27

Interest                                                        1,216.92

Morrison Fund                                           3,740.46


Paid Hartland Library                               1,400.00

Balance 1980                                         $25,100.60

(Treasurer not noted in report)


Following its closure, Donald Shorey’s former building at 16 Mill Street was purchased by the Town of Hartland in 1990 and converted into the new home of the Hartland Public Library moving in 1991 from its former location at the original Linn Woolen Mill Office on Commercial Street.

Hartland Public Library Sign – Mill Street – 2017


Funds raised through numerous private and local business donations along with a large donation from the Irving Tanning Company enabled a 2,880 square foot addition to be built in 1995 providing additional space for a new Children’s Activity Room and Community Meeting Room.

Hartland Public Library with Addition – Mill Street – 2017


A tribute to long time Hartland Consolidated School Teacher Ernestine A. Carson in the new Children’s Activity Room.

Mrs. Ernestine A. Carson Tribute Plaque


At present (2019), the Hartland Public Library has approximately 35,000 items and 7 public computers. The library continues its stated ongoing mission as an important learning and research venue for its citizens as well as serving as the temporary “home” of the Hartland Historical Society.


Click below to access their website sponsored by The Friends of Hartland Public Library:

Hartland Public Library


Hartland Public Library – Mill Street – 2019  (Photo courtesy of Will Bunker Photography)