About the Library
“The mission of the Gibbs Library is to serve as a volunteer-based center whose purpose is to enrich the lives of our community members with free access to programs, materials, and services that empower, educate, and inspire.”
The Gibbs Free Library was originally established in 1915 as the result of a gift of books and later a bequest by a Town of Washington native, Locero Jackson Gibbs, who left home for the Civil War and later became a prominent physician in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Like many libraries, it migrated from front parlors to the backs of stores or to any other place willing to house it. When a new school was built in the 1950s, the old village schoolhouse became its permanent home. This building burned in 1961 and the Gibbs Free Library died.
From this smoldering ash — Dr. Gibbs’ bequest, a small insurance payment, and a bequest from John and Marcia Bryant — came a total of just over $4,000. This money was invested in 1971 “for future library use” and by the early 1990s had grown to more than $40,000. This was used as seed money to bring in a $360,000 Community Development Block Grant to build the beautiful new Gibbs Library which opened in 1993.
The building consists of 2,500 square feet of library space, the 900 square foot Bryant Community Room which is part of the library, and the 900 square foot Washington Town Office. The Washington Library Association was formed to oversee and manage the library as well as to finance its operation. The library is self-sustaining and financed by its own fundraising efforts. Heat and lights are paid for by the town because the library’s grant provided a new space for the Town Office. It is manned 21 hours a week entirely by volunteers. About 65-75% of the budget goes towards purchasing books and supplies.
The Gibbs Library book collection has grown to over 11,000 volumes all catalogued by bar code using Follett software. Four online computers are available to the public (two PC’s and two MAC’s) and Wi-Fi is available throughout the building. The library is comfortably furnished with soft furniture and work tables, and the children’s wing is an area of particular pride. Gibbs Library’s growing collection includes the most current publications and best-sellers, books on tape and CDs, videos and DVDs, Maine books, and, especially, its children’s and juvenile books. The latest additions are the Steven & Tabitha King Language Arts audios containing a choice of over 30 languages such as French, Finnish, and Ojibwe, and the college level Great Courses which include Astronomy, History, Mathematics, Science, Music and Art classes on DVD and CD.
Not only is Gibbs meeting the needs of a conventional library, but it has brought a new dimension to the community with a series of programs featuring Maine authors, performers, nature presentations and others of local interest and the more than 140 different art exhibits by area artists. Computer one-on-one sessions are now offered in which volunteers help community members with software issues such as how to use email, Microsoft office and photos.
President Kathy Ocean
Vice President Scott Gould
Treasurer Susan D'Amore
Secretary Kristen Baker
Librarian Madelon Kelly
Library Manager Kate Nichols
The Board of Trustees meets at 7 pm at the Library the first Monday of each month except for July and August or holidays.
The Annual Meeting is held the second Monday of January and is open to the public.
- Bryant Room - The Gibbs Library aspires to be a focal point for community activities and meetings in Washington. The Bryant Room of the library may be reserved for use by Washington’s educational, civic, cultural, governmental, social, and recreational groups when no admission charge is made. Click here for Bryant Room Policy and Request for Use of Bryant Room form. (pdf)
- Internet Use - The library has both Macintosh and PC computers available for public use. Users are required to sign the Internet Use Policy. Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the polciy. Click here for Internet Use policy (pdf file).
- Wifi - The Gibbs Library provides free Internet access for users with portable computers capable of receiving wireless signals, during normal library hours. Users will are required to sign the Wifi policy. Click here for Wifi Policy (pdf file).
- Washington Library Association establishes policies, administers operations and funds and maintains the Gibbs Library building. Click here for the WLA Bylaws.
Gibbs Library is supported by Awards, Grants and Donations. We are pleased to list some of the awards and grants received.
- Martin Luther King Day of Service grant through the Maine Commission for Community Service for Bully Prevention Project
- Bangor Savings Bank Grant (Camden Branch) for library programs
- Davis Family Foundation Grant
- Golden Rule Foundation Grant
- MBNA Grant
- Rose and Samuel Rudman Library Trust Grant
- Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation Grant
- Wal*Mart Grant for library programs
- 2008 Maine Association of Nonprofits Dirigo Excellence in Nonprofits Award
- Governor’s Service Excellence Award for Nonprofits
- Union Area Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit of the Year
Macintosh and PC Computers are available to use during library hours. An Internet Use Policy form will need to be signed prior to use. (See Internet Use Policy above.) A black and white printer is available for printing pages from the internet. The first 5 pages are no charge and any additional pages are .10 each.
A photocopy machine is available for copies at a cost of .10 per page.
Residents of Washington and neighboring communities are eligible for library cards at no cost.
Books, audio tapes, compact discs, DVDs and videos may be checked out for two weeks. Please ask about extended loans if you have vacation plans or special circumstances. Borrowers who have overdue books out may not check out any new materials until the overdue items have been returned.
Late Fees are calculated from the due date at .05 cents for each day the library is open. This calculates to .25 cents a week or $1.00 a month. For your convenience, a book return is provided by the front entrance of the library for easy drop-off. It is preferred that fragile materials such as videos and tapes be returned inside at the desk.
The borrower is responsible for returning books in good condition. Damaged or lost books may be charged back to the borrower.
Library materials may be renewed for a two-week period unless the item has been reserved by another patron. If it is overdue, the fine must be paid before renewal.
You may renew an item in person, by phone 845-2663 or via e-mail. When renewing by email give us your name and the name of the books you want to renew. We will send you a confirmation with the new due date.
You may request a hold on material by phone or in person.
When your request is available, we will call to notify you.
Interlibrary loans are available for books not owned by our library. You can see if the desired material is available in the Maine Library system by researching on URSUS. Request may be by phone or in person.