A Brief History

The history of the Proctor Free Library can be traced in a few paragraphs. Organized in 1881, when Proctor was known as “ Sutherland Falls ”, its first home was in an upstairs room over the old monument shop, beside the railway tracks. Behind the library, in the same building, was the marble polishing area. On the floor below, was the cutting shop, and still farther down in the basement, was the grist mill. Undeniably, it began its career amid uncongenial surroundings.

The first books were provided by Senator Proctor, and in the early years of raising money for the Library it was his custom to double whatever amounts were earned in other ways. When the initial stock of books arrived, each volume was fitted with a substantial paper cover. It was anticipated that they would have persistent usage, and the meager assessment fee of one dollar a year was the only assured source of income.

After a few years in the monument shop, the library moved to quieter and more spacious quarters over the cooperative store. There it remained until 1891, when the building now known as the town offices was made ready for its occupancy. As compared with the shop and the store, it seemed like an ideal place for books. The day came however, when the library needed a still larger home.

In 1913, Mrs. Emily Proctor, wife of Senator Redfield Proctor, provided the funds for the building of a structure as a memorial to Arabella Proctor Holden, her daughter. This is the present home of the Proctor Free Library.

Throughout the years the Proctor family has been instrumental in having a library in Proctor that met the needs of the community. Records show that Proctor Free Library has been a free library since 1904, and is now supported by endowments, contributions and by appropriations from the town. It is managed by a board of trustees in conjunction with the librarian.

During the initial years (1881-1900) the library was primarily run by members of the Board of Trustees. The names W.W.Wilkins, Charles Glasson, J.T. Glasson, Nellie Glasson and Elizabeth Creer appear frequently in the Board minutes. The first librarian was Mary K. Norton. Ms. Norton remained in this position from 1900 – 1923. While the remaining decades of the Twentieth Century were quiet, unfortunately the first decade of the Twenty-First Century has been marked by scandal during the Brough tenure. The persons serving as librarian are as follows:

1923-1930 –  Priscilla Bancroft

1930-1975 –  Anna McLaughlin

1975-1989 –  Barbara Burns

1989-1997  –  Marie Tillberg

1997-2001 –  Phyllis Russell

2001-2009 –  Mary Brough

2009-2010 –  James Knowlton, MLS

2010-current Lisa Mizer


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