Louis T. Graves Memorial Library, Kennebunkport Maine
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1813 Original red brick building built as the Kennebunk Bank in Arundel.

1815 Customs District installed on second floor.

1831 Bank's charter revoked, property purchased by US government for use as a Customs House.

1894 Kennebunkport Free Library founded by Mrs. Anne Talbot. She donated books, bookcases, and hired a librarian.

1898 Library moved to second floor of Customs House.

1913 Customs District eliminated. Building leased by government to Mrs. Talbot as a library.

1916 Kennebunkport Public Library Association formed, absorbing Mrs. Talbot's library. Books, goods and services donated by residents and community.

1920 Property purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Abbott Graves.  Room added to rear of building.

1921 Property deeded to Library Association by the Graves on condition the Library be named for their deceased son Louis T. Graves.

1930 Children's Department with storybook murals by Louis Norton opened on second floor. (Picture book of murals now available for sale at the front desk.)

1956 Second rear room added with gift from Dean Chester Emerson.

Library building named to the National Register of Historic Places.

1988 Renovation and expansion included handicapped access, a work room, a young adult room and a reading room.

1995  Publication of I Want That Recipe! (To date 9,000 copies have been sold).

1998 Perkins House purchased to be used for ongoing Book Sale.

1999 Open House for Perkins House. Library circulation automated/catalogue online.

2005 Automatic Doors for easy access installed at Library.

2013 Centennial observed. Publication ofKennebunkport : the Evolution of an American Town, (a two-volume set) for the time period 1603-2003written by Joyce Butler.  Publication of Magical Murals : Louis Norton’s Gift to the Children of Kennebunkport.

Currently, the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library, a 501(c)(3) organization, has over 5,800 cardholders and a collection of more than 37,000 pieces.  The Library is open 42.5 hours per week and provides over 350 quality programs to individuals of all ages.

Less than 40 percent of the Library’s annual budget is requested from the Town of Kennebunkport on an annual basis.  The remaining 62 percent is predicated on the success of volunteer fundraising efforts.  While the Library has been fortunate to receive memorial gifts over the years to help build an endowment, responsibly only 4 percent of the balance is withdrawn for operations each year to ensure that the future of the Library’s holdings will exist to support the life-long mission to all cardholders.

Fundraising efforts include an ongoing used and rare books sale, an annual appeal and several unique special events.  In 2010, the Library hosted Pulitzer Prize winning author, Richard Russo, for event held at the Colony Hotel.  In 2012, the Library was honored to host another Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, author David McCullough.  In 2013, we celebrated the publication of our own book with author/historian Joyce Butler, Kennebunkport : the Evolution of an American Town; and, historians David Oshinsky (2014) and Douglas Brinkley (2015) spoke about Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, respectively.

For a more detailed history, see articles researched and written by Joyce Butler in the vertical (office) file at the Library.