Culture Spotlight

The New Gloucester Library is open for browsing!

|Noreen Williams|

It has been a difficult year for everyone including those who love the New Gloucester Public Library. The library (and all of the town offices) closed due to COVID-19 over a year ago on March 17, 2020.  The library was reopened three days a week for curbside service starting on June 17. However, following the voters’ rejection of the reduced library budget in September, the library closed again and remained closed awaiting a second budget vote in December. With a new budget in place, the two staff positions were posted and the new library director, Lee Shaw and assistant librarian, Emily Martin were hired in February. They reopened the library for lobby service on February 23rd while continuing to get the library back in shape after the long closure.

The wonderful news is that the library is now open again Tuesday through Saturday with limited browsing (8-person capacity, masks mandatory and a 30-minute visit, see details below).

It has taken a lot of work to get the library ready and make it compliant with COVID-19 safety considerations. Lee and Emily have been sitting in on meetings with other libraries and rethinking the way to best use the library space safely. Furniture has been moved, markings for social distancing have been fixed to the floor at the desk and in the stack aisles, and PPE has been put in place. They have also done some painting to get the library looking it’s best for the patrons (Lee says Emily is a good painter!).

There are lots of new and exciting things happening at the library with more to come (please see the Library website for more information at

  • The new Saturday children’s Storytime on Zoom has been going well and they would welcome more children to join.
  • The new virtual book discussion for adults began last month and the next book should be arriving soon. If you are interested in joining the group, the next book is Bear Town authored by Fredrik Backman. The library will have copies in regular and large print or an audiobook which you can pick up. The discussion will be held by Zoom on April 30th
  • The new leased books are arriving at the end of the month and will provide library patrons with some of the bestselling books very close to their release date. This is part of a new pilot program and Lee and Emily would like your feedback on the program.
  • The new library cards will be arriving within the next couple weeks and all cards will be replaced over time. They will be barcoded and of a more durable material. Once they are ready, you’ll be getting the new card when you check out your books at your next trip to the library or in the bag with your “Lobby Service” pickup.

The library has started receiving book donations again and you can drop them off in the side lobby where “Lobby Service” books are picked up. As usual, the library will use  some for lending and the rest will go to the book sale that the Friends of the Library run for the benefit of the library (usually in October and February).

Just a reminder, if you want books but are homebound, the Friends of the Library will deliver them to you. Just contact Lee or Emily at the library at 926-4840 and let them know you are interested in this service.  After that, you can select books using the library online catalog (see the Library website for details). One of the Friends will then call you to arrange the book delivery.

Last but not least, the library staff are always interested in your ideas for new programming. Let them know what you’d like to see happening at the library when you next visit or email them at

The New Gloucester Public Library hours are:

Tuesday 11:00am – 4:00pm

Wednesday 11:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday 12:00pm – 7:00pm

Friday 11:00am – 4:00pm

Saturday 10:00am – 3:00pm