The Norway Library was established in 1885. For many years it was located above Longley's store, until the present building was completed in 1938. This building was a gift to the Town of Norway from Mrs. Maude Kaemmerling, a summer resident of Norway Lake, whose relatives were some of the early settlers of Norway. A bronze plaque in the library's vestibule indicates that the building is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Kaemmerling's parents, Albert and Mary Thompson, and her brother, Frank Thompson.
The lot on which the library stands had been vacant since the fire of 1894. The brick materials blend with other Main Street buildings built after the fire, and the neo-classic design of the library was provided by the Boston architect William B. Coffin. Philip D. Wight of Norway submitted a bid of $31,190 to construct the building. There was an official ceremony on December 18, 1938 to open the new library building, which at the time housed a collection of about 9,000 books.
Seventy plus years later the collection contains 40,000 volumes, in a variety of formats which include books, magazines, audio CDs and DVDs, and microfilm. Patrons also have access to downloadable audio books and eBooks form Maine's Download Library and thousands of online magazines, journals and books via MARVEL!, Maine's Virtual Library. Public access computers are available for Internet access, Ancestry.com's Public Library Edition, and for word processing and other Microsoft Office applications. Materials not contained in the library are available through Inter-Library Loan from other libraries via the Minerva consortiuum or nationwide. The collection and circulation are monitored and cataloged through a statewide integrated library software system, allowing our catalog to be available on-line. The library circulates about 45,000 items per year.
In order to continue to serve the public's interests as we move into the 21st Century, the Norway Memorial Library built a 4200 square foot addition that was completed in 2001. With this addition the library building is fully handicapped accessible, has ADA compliant bathrooms, has an adjacent parking area, has additional space for shelving and computers, has doubled the size of the Children's Room, and has created a reference area and a multi-purpose room.