History of Lithgow Public Library
Lithgow Public Library is named for Llewellyn Lithgow, an Augusta merchant and book lover, who left a $20,000 bequest to the City for the purpose of building a public library. The bequest, along with a $9,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie and the sale of subscriptions to area citizens, provided the funds to construct the building. With much fanfare, the cornerstone of the library was laid in 1894, and the doors opened to the community in February of 1896. An addition to the original building was constructed in 1979.
Designed in the Romanesque Renaissance style, the library is constructed of gray Norridgewock granite, blocked symmetrically over the windows and entrance. An arched doorway and medallions featuring the names of admired writers adorn the exterior. The interior lobby and original stack room feature quartered oak pillars and elaborate woodwork. Grand fireplaces on the east and west walls face each other. Stained glass windows depict printers' marks from the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as several scenes from Augusta history.
The elegant Reading Room, with its frescoes, stained glass and gold leaf ornamentation, remains much the same as it was in the 1890's. It is considered one of the most beautiful interior spaces in the state of Maine. The library is on the National Register of Historic Places and celebrated its centennial in 1996.
Currently, the Friends of Lithgow Library are conducting a capital campaign to raise funds for the library’s expansion and renovation. The proposed project has an estimated cost of $8.1 million, and will be a public/private partnership between the city of Augusta and the Friends.