History of the NCC

The Newport Public Library was founded in 1899, and originally was housed in the Town Office, which was then on Water Street. The library was incorporated in 1899 as the Newport Free Public Library Association. Members paid a dollar each, and the funds thus raised were used to purchase books.

The front page of the library’s 1905 by-laws.


The Old Town Hall 0n Water Street – Original home of the Newport Public Library

During the 1920′s, the Newport Woman’s Club spearheaded a campaign to raise funds for a free-standing library. They collected money and purchased a small piece of land on Main Street. However, first the Depression, and later WWII caused progress to stall. Finally the NWC rallied in the 1950′s, and in 1955 the town of Newport happily celebrated the opening of its brand-new brick library on Main Street.

In 1962, the Newport Woman’s Club decided to form an historical society for the town. Thanks to their work, by the time of Newport’s 150th birthday in 1964, there was a dedicated room in the basement of the new library just for historical displays. Eventually those collections were moved to a private home, and then to the old brick bank building on Main Street. There the Newport Historical Society held their meetings and maintained displays on the second and third floors. However, the Society needed climate-controlled, secure storage and better access for the public and themselves.

The Newport Public Library (closed 2009).

The charming brick library served the town’s literary needs for more than 50 years, but became increasingly crowded. Books crammed every corner, and there was no room for programs or new resources, such as computers. Finally, in 2006, the Newport Public Library and the Newport Historical Society legally merged, forming a new institution, the Newport Cultural Center. All the of the money to build the new facility was raised privately, through grants, individual contributions, and a USDA loan. The Newport Cultural Center opened its doors to the public in April, 2009. Located prominently on Main Street, the building’s design echoes the architecture of the previous structure on the site, an historic retail block that had been destroyed by fire in 1991. It was only through enormous community effort, both in fund-raising and in physical labor, that the Newport Cultural Center was created.

The Newport Cultural Center, 154 Main Street. (Opened April 2009.)

Contact Information:

154 Main Street
Newport, ME 04953
Library circulation desk:
(207) 368-5074


historical inquires - history1215@yahoo.com


Tuesday-Friday, 9:30-5:30
Sat: 9:30-1:30
Closed Sunday & Monday

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