Alice Chesley Tasker and her husband, Edward A. Tasker, founded the Chesley Memorial Library with a generous donation in the early 1950s. When Alice Tasker died in 1950, she left a stipulation in her will that a specific parcel of land be turned into a memorial library. The land, located at the intersection of Route 4 and Old Mountain Road (now known as Route 43), was provided by Dana C. Woodman. A stipulation in the will stated that the monies and land would revert to the original holders if the library was not completed within three years.
Alice Tasker's original contribution of $20,000 was augmented by her husband Edward Tasker, with an addition $6,000. In addition to her original donations, Mrs. Tasker further bequeathed $2,000 for the purchase of books and materials and $5,000 "to be prudently invested and the income to be used on an annual basis to purchase books." Her will further stipulated that the building was to be named the Chesley Memorial Library and dedicated to the memory of her parents, George and Mary Chesley. This building opened on October 21, 1954.
In 1991 Joseph Grano donated over $100,000 to the library in honor of his wife, Theodora Kalem Grano, for the construction of a new library wing. On September 22, the new wing opened to the public. The addition, which doubled the size of the library, provided room upstairs to house the adult collection of the library. The downstairs was not finished off, but provided an area to renovate for the children's collection and a meeting room in the future.
In 1995 the town voted, via a warrant article, to appropriate $20,000 to renovate the downstairs of the library. Another $20,000 was granted in 1996. The library also received $19,245, through the Library Services and Construction Act Title II Construction grant, to make the entire library handicapped accessible. The work commenced, and that year the new Children's Wing opened.
As Northwood grows the library is starting to feel growing pains. In 2006 we felt the pinch in the Adult section of the library- and ran out of shelf space. Thankfully the library had a wonderful Friends of the Library group, which purchased a new row of shelving for the library. When the shelves arrived librarians re-arranged the upstairs of the library, streamlining the organization of the materials. Then in 2006 the pinch was once again felt- only this time it was downstairs in the children's and youth area. The library had once again reached it's limit and was out of space. This time Children's Librarian Danielle Fortin and decided that a custom design was needed. Working closely with Sarah Hebert, the library assistant at the time, a design that combined seating and shelving was created. After receiving quotes from several carpentry companies it was discovered that the cost of building the shelves was prohibitive, and the project was put aside for the time being.
In the early spring of 2007 North East Credit Union moved to Northwood, and approached the library about the possibilities of donating funds to the library- the perfect solution to the shelving problem in the children's and youth area. Once again library staff began looking at carpenters and found one right here in Northwood: Lord Carpentry. Lord Carpentry generously offered to donate their labor building the shelves if the library would pay for materials. The library in turn asked North East Credit Union for a donation that would cover the cost of materials for the shelves, and was given a check that covered the cost to build the new shelves. In an effort to make the room as inviting and welcoming as possible library staff approached two local artists about creating murals for the new shelves. Artists David Burton and Shawn Meyers both agreed and began work on their murals as soon as they could. Children's librarian Danielle Fortin also begin painting the outsides of the shelves as they arrived. Despite a long wait and many snags the new shelves were finalized in mid-2008 and were set up in the children's and youth area of the library. The shelves, and the subsequent re-arranging of the downstairs, gave the library some much needed shelf space and a bit more space for growth.
In 2010 the library again began to feel growing pains. This time in the adult section of the library. Our very generous Friends Group stood behind the library and together with Lord's Carpentry added a series of new shelves to the back room of the library. We were able to move our collection around a bit and gave ourselves some needed breathing room.
National Library 2015 Proclamation
WHEREAS, libraries create potential and possibilities within their communities, campuses and schools;
WHEREAS; libraries level the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies;
WHEREAS, libraries continuously grow and evolve in how they provide for the needs of every member of their communities;
WHEREAS, libraries and librarians open up a world of possibilities through innovative STEAM programing, Makerspaces, job-seeking resources and the power of reading;
WHEREAS, librarians are trained, tech-savvy professionals, providing technology training and access to downloadable content like e-books;
WHEREAS, libraries support democracy and effect social change through their commitment to provide equitable access to information for all library users regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic status;
WHEREAS, libraries, librarians, library workers and supporters across America are celebrating National Library Week.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that I the Library Director of Chesley Memorial Library, proclaim National Library Week, April 12-18, 2015. I encourage all residents to visit the library this week to take advantage of the wonderful library resources available @ your library. Unlimited possibilities @ your library.