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History of the Pope Memorial Library

The History of our Library:  1887 - Today

April 1887: The first meeting of interested individuals was held at the Masonic Hall to discuss the founding of a public library in North Conway. 

June 8, 1887: The North Conway Public Library Association (unincorporated) was formed by a group of 40 shareholders, and a constitution and by-laws were adopted.  Its purpose was "to provide public library facilities to the community of North Conway and the surrounding communities in Carroll County, NH." Each shareholder paid $25 to become a Life Member.

1888: To take out books, a fee of two cents was charged per day or ten cents a week. Residents were entitled to a library membership to take out books for $1 per year. Summer residents could pay fifty cents per month or one dollar per season. Poor people could take books out at the discretion of the librarian.

August 1887: The Library opened for circulation in a room of the Masonic Building paying rent of $15 per year.

1891: The painter Benjamin Champney became a member of the Board of Directors.

December 1892: The Library moved to the second floor of the Pease Block, occupying two rooms.

1902: The Library became a "free" library to residents after George Walker, a summer resident, bequeathed his fortune to the library. Now, the residents did not have to pay any sort of fee for the privilege of taking out books. The library was called the "Walker Library" for a while.

August 1905: The North Conway Public Library Association was formally incorporated as a NH nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of New Hampshire. It is to provide public library facilities to North Conway and the surrounding communities in Northern Carroll County, NH.

September 1905: The present site was given to the Library by Dr. James Schouler.

1911: The main building was erected as a gift from James Schouler in memory of his wife, Emily.

It had been designed by Clarence Clark Zantzinger, a North Conway summer resident and well-known architect from Philadelphia. He designed many residences, churches, commercial, academic, and governmental buildings, among them the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Carnegie Library in Philadelphia.

The granite was provided by J.A. Whitaker from the quarry on his property. 

The building has classic elements of the Arts & Crafts movement with some Colonial Revival elements popular at the time.

1917: The addition at the rear was erected from the endowment of George Walker.

1919: The June Annual Report states: “A larger children’s department is already needed.”

1988: The North Wing is completed for the expanded children's room and the Historical Reference balcony.

1999: Computers were installed providing free Internet access for the community.

2002: First Bike for Books fundraiser, a fall foliage mountain bike tour.

2005: Centennial Celebration (100 Years since Incorporation).

2009: The Library is on Facebook.

2011: Completion of the Library's Automation Project: The catalog is online. 

2012: 125th Year Anniversary of the Founding of the Library.

2013: Landscaping Project & New Fence.

2016: Start of discussion of major library expansion & renovation.

2018: Start of a capital campaign with a major donation from benefactor Lyman Pope.

2019: Groundbreaking ceremony.

2019 & 2020: Library construction: expansion & renovation.

2020: Soft opening of the new library.
2022: Grand opening at ribbon cutting ceremony.

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