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'We love it here' | Why Mainers rave about the Edythe Dyer Library

Edythe Dyer Library has been part of the Hamden community for 40 years, but some say it's a hidden gem.

HAMPDEN, Maine — Getting adjusted to living in a new place can be tough, but mother Tara Coffman said the Edythe Dyer Library has played a key part in helping her connect with other parents, meet new friends and get adjusted to living in a new place. 

“It’s a great opportunity for us as parents to come together and spend time with each other as well. We love it here," Coffman said. 

Although the Edythe Dyer Library has been part of the Hampden community for 40 years, library director Debbie Lozito said there are still some people who have never seen the creative reading spaces inside its doors.

The library is a repurposed home tucked behind wooded trees, and Lozito said it is often called the town of Hampden’s "hidden gem." 

The owner, Edythe Dyer, donated her then 2-year-old home to the town in 1983, making it the town's first standalone library.

“Every nook and cranny is filled with books,” Lozito said.

There is a little bit of something to do for everyone who visits the Edythe Dyer Library, Lozito said. 

Coffman said attending story time for babies and young children is her 14-month-old son Caiden’s favorite thing to do.

“He loves coming here obviously," Coffman said. "It’s also just a nice opportunity for him to interact with other kids his age, or even kids older depending on which story time we go to." 

When they miss a story time, Coffman said she's able to go to the library's Facebook page and catch up.

Upta Camp at the Library!

McGraw School invited us to come promote summer reading today!

Posted by Edythe Dyer Library on Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Bookshelves in the library are neighbored by couches and fireplaces, giving the library a homey feel. 

Some people keep it simple, only coming in to check out new books, and return old ones, but others spend their whole day reading in their favorite spots, Lozito said. 

Longtime community member Bonnie Kelly walked up the library's steps hand in hand with her daughter Thursday, Aug. 17, with one arm hugging loads of their completed reads. 

"We love to come obviously check out a lot of books," Kelly said. "We find so many different topics within all the different books and then there are plenty she's able to start, slowly start reading herself with different sight words and letters and things like that."

Kelly said her daughter completed the library’s summer reading program. She said for herself, she personally likes the library's adult fiction section.

Behind the library, there's an alphabet trail. Coffman said she and Caiden usually step outside after reading and spend some time walking the short trail and pointing out letters along the way. 

Every so often, the question of whether a new building with more space is needed comes up, but Lozito said there is no space in town that could accommodate the library's needs. 

And even if there were, Lozito said she and the community are not interested swapping the "dramatic" library with a simple, boring building.

"They just love how they feel when they come up that driveway, and when they come in," Lozito said. "I'm bringing multi-generations here. We don't want just a square brick building."

Coffman said she's sure the library is a second home for many families.

To find information about story times for children and babies, book groups and art groups, click here

You can also click here to find a calendar full of upcoming events sponsored by the library. 

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