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Buckfield library celebrating 111 years with new books
STILL STANDING — The Zadoc Long Free Library in Buckfield is celebrating its 111th anniversary this year.
BUCKFIELD — The Zadoc Long Free Library is 111 years old this year and to celebrate, it will fill its shelves with 111 new children's books, says Library Director Ann Varney.
One hundred of those children's books are being provided to the library through the Brownstone Book Fund, a private foundation interested in fostering early reading and a lifelong love of books.
The Brownstone Book Fund sends children's books across the country every year. This year, Maine was selected as the fund's beneficiary and Zadoc Long Free Library was chosen among 45 libraries in Maine to receive books.
The books the library will receive range from pre-kindergarten to early readers, but Varney says the first shipment may not arrive until late December or early January because of transportation complications caused by October's Hurricane Sandy.
The second shipment is not expected to arrive for another three months, Varney said.
Nevertheless, the librarians are excited about the new books and celebrating the library's 111th anniversary by adding them to its constantly growing collection.
Eleven additional books are being donated in recognition of the libary's 111th anniversary, Varney said. Donors include the Buckfield Northeast Bank staff, Tilton's Market in Buckfield and the Oxford County Association of Retired Teachers, as well as an anonymous donor.
As a non-profit, the library is always receiving donations of books from patrons, especially during the holidays, but the 111 new books will be a nice addition, Varney said.
"We've got pretty generous people in Buckfield, Sumner and Hartford, who bring in books they no longer want," she said.
"We depend upon donors, but we also have a very generous town; our town supports us," she added.
Assistant Director Bonnie Santos said local patrons and businesses also donate equipment and other supplies – and even their personal time – to help the library.
"We are very fortunate," Varney said.
According to information provided by Varney, the library was a gift to the town by Secretary of the Navy John Davis Long, a Buckfield native. It was built in 1901 as a memorial to his father and mother, Zadoc Long and Julia Temple Davis, by architect John Calvin Stevens.
After the building was erected, Long and his relatives liberally supplied it with books, a library document states.
Along with books, the library houses historical artifacts from the 1900s, including a musket known as "The King's Arm," used during the French and Indian War.
In the early 1900s, the Zadoc Long Free Library was only open to Buckfield residents – but in 1964, the library also started serving residents of Hartford and Sumner.
The library, according to Varney, is on the historical register. "It's a historical landmark, so it's kept intact as much as possible. Most of it is original," she said.
The wooden building is almost just as it was 111 years ago, Varney said, except for a few minor changes, including a back entryway that was added on nearly 15 years ago and some new front steps.
She said while the library is small, there are no firm plans to relocate or expand it at this point. There have also been some ideas about moving the historical society, which has limited space at the town office, into the library.
"As it is right now, we are here and making the most of it. We love our little library."
At 10 a.m. on January 19, the library will host a final celebration of its 111th anniversary and its selection to receive the Brownstone Brook Fund donation.
Refreshments will be offered during the celebration and a coloring contest will be held for elementary students. Children will be asked to color in a sketched image of the library on recycled fliers advertising the event, Santos said.
She said fliers will be distributed at the elementary school after holiday break and will be judged for creativity in three different age groups – ages three to five, six to eight and nine to 11.
The winning entries will be chosen and prizes awarded during the January 19 celebration.
According to Santos, the celebration will also mark the beginning of the library's Children's 2013 Winter Reading Program, which will meet Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. from January 19 to March 16, 2013.
Each session will include a story hour and crafts followed by a light snack.
Parents can register their children for this free program by calling the library at 336-2171 or by stopping at the circulation desk on or before January 19.