West Paris Public Library

History of the Library
On April 12th, 1889 a group of people met in Dunham's Hall to discuss the possibility of a public library. The West Paris Library Association was created, with Seth Leslie Curtis as the President.

At first, one did not borrow books, but subscribed to the library and paid 25 cents a year. It would not become a free library until 1924. A committee of two was created to organize subscriptions and book money. On May 3rd, the Association's Constitution and rules were passed.

Later, the books were kept at the post office since the new librarian, George W. Bryant, was the post-master, then the hardware store when Ebenezer B. Humphrey became the librarian. The books were moved several more times, staying at places such as C. Howard Lane's store, Israel F. Emmons' store, the home of Erastus K. Cummings, and Samuel T. White's store. There they stayed for over twelve years, with Mrs. White serving as the librarian.

On December 7th, 1900, Mrs. Ella M. Bates donated 50 books to the library and also gave a sum equal to the number of one-dollar subscriptions given by interested people, which continued for several years. During May 1905, the library had grown to 499 books and 36 members.

In 1910, the library had grown too large to be kept in Mr. White's store. A room in Hiram W. Dunham's apartment over the telephone office was prepared for the books, where they remained until 1926, when they were finally moved to their present location: the Arthur L. Mann Memorial Library.

The Mann family had been residents of West Paris for a long time before the library was build. The house next to the library and the house across the street both belonged to the family at one point. They also owned Mann's Mill on Pioneer Street.

After the death of Lewis M. Mann, it was discovered that he had left a plot of land and $5000 for the construction and upkeep of a new library for the town. Edwin J. Mann, his son, doubled the sum and made sure that his father's dream was fulfilled. On September 4th, 1926, the new library was officially presented to the town and the West Paris Library Association.

The library's unique castle-like look was designed by Gibbs & Pulsifer of Lewiston. The stone is in fact broken fieldstone gathered from fields right in West Paris. The main entrance still displays the original oak door with hand-crafted iron hinges. Over the door is a large granite block with the words "Arthur L. Mann Memorial Library" inscribed into it. Arthur L. Mann was Lewis M. Mann's older son who had died years earlier.

Once again, in 2005, the library began growing too small for its collection of books. As a result, an add-on was planned and completed as of February 2010. The library's castle-like design was kept intact.