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Moses Greenleaf, His Maps, and His Household of Faith, 1777-1834

— Walter MacDougall

Not Just for Masons

Sponsored by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Maine Library seeks to provide learning opportunities not only for Maine Freemasons but also their families and the communities in which they live. We’re open to all and encourage you to take advantage of what we have to offer. Borrow books? Absolutely! If you’re a Maine Mason, your dues card is all you need. If you’re not, we ask simply that you complete a short application form.

We’re also pleased to be known as the HOLDEN COMMUNITY LIBRARY and look forward to providing internet access, book borrowing, and more to the surrounding communities.

When the Grand Lodge administrative offices, including the Library & Museum, moved to Holden in 2011, the newly appointed Grand Librarian began a new era by moving the Library’s focus from that of simply a repository of donated Masonic books to a facility which could provide books (both printed and electronic), videos, music and much more, encompassing a wide variety of material from current computer texts to romance, fiction, and children’s books. A youth section with age-appropriate furniture and lots of books was added, making ours (YOURS!) the only known Masonic library in the world with something like this!

Each year we add more items to our collection. Be sure to let us know if you have some particular interest and we’ll see what we can do to assist.

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How We Got Here

In the winter of 2014, the Charitable Foundation undertook a fundraising to enclose the drive-thru area of the building which, in its earlier life, was a bank branch. Thanks to the wonderful response from Masons AND the community, we met our goal and construction began even before the snow was gone. (Yes, it was a long winter but still….) Things moved along rapidly and the expansion area was dedicated in November, 2015.

What’s Available

Naturally, the touchstone of our collection is and will be books about Freemasonry (heck, we’ve been collecting them since before 1844 when the Grand Lodge first appropriated money for bookshelves). Now, though, we’ve added a broad collection of award-winning and popular books for children of all ages. In addition, we have murder mysteries, a whole section titled “Personal and Community Development” and books on the seven liberal arts and sciences (grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy). We’ve already added numerous books on philosophy, genealogy, history and religion, and are adding to sections on local authors, railroads, and Maine (including travel). We can’t take the place of a local public library and don’t want to do so. We strongly encourage you to support them as well as the Maine State Library. These valuable resources with their dedicated staffs are true gems and greatly enhance our state’s livability. (A list of Maine libraries is found here.) What we DO want to do is provide those in proximity to us with a shorter drive to get materials to help them expand their vision and enhance their knowledge. Even as we’ll be moving books into our new space, we’re also working to network with other libraries and organizations. Announcements on these efforts will be forthcoming soon.

Electronic Books

The Maine Lodge of Research generously contributed a Kindle Fire containing several Masonic and other books. We’ve added to that collection but due to the extreme cost to libraries for electronic books and our inability to meet the requirements for a ‘public library’ which would give us access to a technology pool where we could be part of an e-book consortium, our electronic offerings are limited to using this Kindle (and a Nook donated by the Grand Librarian) to help members and the public get acquainted with this technology. We’re also finding that some books (particularly those self-published by Masons are now available only in electronic form. There are a number of issues relative to this including, but not limited to, lending (which is not currently available due to Amazon restrictions) along with the problems faced in future years from changing technology. Rest assured that we are staying abreast of this area and always looking forward trying to ensure we ‘do the right thing’.

Lending Library

And in addition to all of the above, we have a Lending Library where visitors can take a book (or two or three or four) and return it ‘whenever’. We welcome donations to make this part of our outreach grow even further.