About York Public Library
The mission of York Public Library is to provide free and equitable access in our commitment to connecting people, advancing learning, and promoting creativity.
York Public Library was originally founded by the York Public Library Association. Incorporated in 1922, YPLA is a nonprofit entity that owns and governs the Library. Shortly after its incorporation, the Association set a goal to ensure York citizens had their own public library, and after a fundraising campaign, and with a modest contribution from the Town of York, they did. From 1926-2001, what is now part of Parish Hall Church served as York’s first Public Library.
For over three quarters of a century, a 1,500 square foot building served York’s population as it grew from 2,600 to 13,000. During this same time, the workplace and society itself went through drastic changes – typewriters became word processors, became computers, and then: the Internet. Library workflow became automated and card catalogs became Online Public Access Catalogs, or OPACs.
Though the Library’s space needs alone became apparent in the 1970s, it wasn’t until 1998 that YPLA launched a Capital Campaign to fund the construction of a much-needed larger, modern library. As happened in the 1920s, the fundraising was exceedingly successful, resulting in $4 million in privately raised funds, matched with $1.3 million raised from Town taxpayers.
We have served York’s 13,000 residents and estimated 30,000 annual visitors from our beautiful ‘new’ facility, located in the heart of York Village, since 2001. We are both a literal and figurative community center. The Library provides access to materials, services and collections dedicated to people of all ages, income levels, ethnicities, and abilities. We offer a wealth of ongoing educational, recreational, and cultural programs – all geared to enrich, entice, and inspire – and all free and open to the public.
The Library’s 25,000 square feet provides ample space for community groups and organizations to meet, and our Community Meeting Room hosts the official gatherings of the Town’s Boards of Selectmen, Planning, Zoning, and Appeals as well as those for most municipal committees.
Our programming attracts people from across the southern Maine and Seacoast area. In 2019, 16,240 people attended 607 Library programs, and over 8,000 people came through our doors every month to check out a book, get help with a new gadget, read the papers, enjoy a quiet workspace with free wifi, piece together a puzzle, attend a story hour, check their investments, craft with friends, attend a town meeting, research family history, catch a concert, take in an exhibit, get help with a resume, learn to play the ukulele, meet their neighbors, and tell their story.
Citizens rely on us – from teens who need a safe and welcoming place to go after school – to seniors who want to gain some new skills or check out the latest bestsellers – to our youngest patrons who are only just starting to read. We are truly at the heart of a strong community – a hub for human connection and lifelong learning.
“Public libraries are gifts to any community anywhere in the world. York Public Library is exceptional, a quiet haven to sit peacefully and read, or study, or to bump into friends and neighbors. Appreciate that they opened the library for people to keep warm when power outages occurred, this is a great service to the Town of York.”
– Elena Z.