About Dyer Library

Dyer LibraryFunded by a generous bequest from Olive Dyer in the name of her husband Oliver, the first home of the Dyer Library was created in the basement of Saco City Hall. A dirt floor was covered over in “hard pine”, a furnace was added, black walnut bookcases and tables were constructed, books, (many from other non-public library collections,) were moved in and Sarah W. Tucker was hired as the first librarian at a salary of $400 a year. The library opened for business in the spring of 1881.

In 1893, the building just north of City Hall was constructed as the second home of the library. As originally designed by Horace G. Wadlin, the interior was largely one open space, divided visually by a broad wooden double arch. The front space was the reading room, which featured an oak common table and a large open fireplace. The rear space housed shelf stacks that could only be accessed by the librarian. Funds for construction of the building were provided by bequests from Mrs. John C. Bradbury and George E. Means, and philanthropist Cornelius Sweetser who left the Dyer Library a $10,000 maintenance fund.

Dyer LibraryAfter more than a half century in that building, the Dyer Library moved north in 1955 to the former home of board president Frank Cutter Deering, next to the York Institute. In 1974, a new wing was added adjacent to Deering’s huge flat-roofed parlor. This broad corridor and gallery connected to the carriage house, providing new offices, the Deering Room and Board Room and what is now the Reed’s Children’s Room, created with a bequest from former children’s librarian Lillian Reed.

In 1976, the Dyer Library and York Institute joined together as the Dyer Library Association. Later, the York Institute was renamed as the Saco Museum. In keeping with the idea that the museum and library are a single cultural institution serving the Saco Community, the Dyer Library Association is now referred to as Dyer Library/Saco Museum.