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Alice Chesley Tasker and her husband, Edward A. Tasker,
founded the Chesley Memorial Library with a generous donation in the
1950s. When Alice Tasker died in 1950, she left a stipulation in
that a specific parcel of land be turned into a memorial library.
land, located at the intersection of Route 4 and Old Mountain Road (now
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
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
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.