The North Monmouth Library officially closed about two years ago, but as time goes on, its history is growing brighter.

In 2014, the library’s board of directors officially decided to close it after 87 years of operation and turn it over to the Monmouth Museum. But since then, the weather-worn building has been given a new roof and a paint job that is meant to recreate its original colors: a buttercup-yellow exterior with white trim, and a mint-green interior with natural-wood shelves.

What’s more, the library soon could land on the National Register of Historic Places. Last week, the town received a letter from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission saying the building was under consideration for the national listing.

The North Monmouth Library was designed by Harry Cochrane, the artist and architect whose most notable local creation is the castlelike Cumston Hall in downtown Monmouth — which currently houses the Cumston Public Library.

Shelia Sanford is excited about the prospect that Cochrane’s smaller project soon could receive the federal distinction. She grew up borrowing books from the North Monmouth Library, worked there as a librarian and eventually served as president of the library’s association. She also serves as president of the Monmouth Museum.

“When I was a little girl, I used to go to the library. It was a central place in those days. Everybody went to the library,” said Sanford, who is 75. “We would like to have it recognized. It would be a nice honor. It would be an honor for the library. It would be recognition for the museum, and it would be recognition for Harry Cochrane. He’s a big deal in Monmouth.”


Sanford said the Maine Historic Preservation Commission will hold a hearing Jan. 27 about buildings proposed for the National Register of Historic Places.

There are additional benefits for properties that are on the federal listing.

Any projects that affect the properties are subject to input from the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Owners of the properties can receive tax provisions. The properties could qualify more easily for federal grants for historic preservation, and their historical importance could affect whether coal mining permits are issued in the area.

None of those benefits would apply necessarily to the North Monmouth Library, according to Sanford. Still, she said, “we don’t know in 200 years what might be happening.”

Though the library is not being used, Sanford said the museum will begin storing reference and history books there in the spring. The museum also might display items there from time to time, she said.

Also, the 225th anniversary of Monmouth’s incorporation is this year, Sanford said, and the museum might hold some sort of ceremony to celebrate local history.


“Hopefully we’ll also be able to celebrate that the library is on the National Register of Historic Places,” she said.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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