Wilton library joins in with Blueberry Festival and 100th anniversary of building

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WILTON — The Wilton Blueberry Festival theme of “Maine, All About Reading and Writing” prompted the Wilton Free Public Library to offer special activities this weekend, director David Olson told the select board Tuesday.

The 33rd annual festival takes place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7 and 8.

Olson and Lynne Hunter, adult services staff, told selectpersons they plan to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building, participate in the parade and hold readings both days.

Previously, the library closed during the festival, Olson said after the meeting.  

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“We never had much to do with the festival,” he said. “But, we realized we were missing a great opportunity to connect with the community.”

A couple of years ago, staff and board members started walking in the parade and offering activities.

This year, they are planning a parade float and activities at the library after the parade, he said.

“It has been fun,” Olson said. “Much better being part of it than sitting on the sidelines.” 

When festival organizer Shannon Smith sought help organizing authors to read their work, the library staff stepped forward and took it over. 

Local authors are lined up to read from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the library and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Calzolaio Pasta Company on Saturday, Hunter told the board. There is also an open reading time at 4 p.m. both days for community members to share their writing.

Although a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the building is planned for October, the staff has a few things planned during the festival. Green, festive T-shirts for youth and adults with a design of the library on front will be on sale for $10 during the weekend and orders will be taken for specific sizes, Hunter said.

The sale will continue through October, Cassie Savage, children’s librarian said.

The library will offer chalk drawing on the bridge and a craft involving the number 100 after the parade until 1 p.m., Savage said Wednesday.

The library incorporated as a nonprofit in 1901 and used one of the storefront buildings on Main Street, Olson said.

Like the start of many small libraries, people paid subscriptions to help purchase books, he said.

In 1915, the children of Flavius and Agnes Goodspeed, owners of Wilton Woolen Mill, donated land and money to construct the building in honor of their parents. Although Goodspeed Memorial Library is engraved on the library, it was never an official name. It has always been the Wilton Free Public Library, Olson said.

“The library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The building was designed by the Lewiston architect Harry S. Coombs and was constructed by the B.F. Dunning Company of Massachusetts at a cost of $10,000,” according to the library website.  

Olson told the select board he is committed to expanding fundraising over the coming year and plans to work on getting an outside patio built.

abryant@sunmediagroup.net 

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