Early in Woodstock’s history there was a strong interest in furnishing reading matter to her citizens. A Literary Society met to read and discuss books, bought books and allowed people to borrow them.
In the town report of 1893 we find the first recorded report of Library Trustees. The Board was then David Webster, W. L. E. Hunt and F. N. Gilman. That report states that the State of New Hampshire gave the Moosilauke Free Public Library at North Woodstock 101 volumes that were put in circulation on July 11, 1893. Hon. J. J. Bell gave 95 volumes. One hundred twenty-four volumes loaned by Woodstock Literary Society and North Woodstock Literary Fraternity were given to the library on August 25, and Rev. J. E. Johnston donated 18 volumes.
The report also proudly claims that 213 readers read 953 books in 7 ¾ months, at a total expense to the town of $43.10. Not too much of this was paid for librarian’s salary because several years’ accounts show a total salary of $15.00 to the librarian, first Miss Nellie Russell and then Miss Jennie Russell. An attempt was made in 1906 to get a vote to build a library building but did not carry.
Fifteen years after its start Moosilauke Free Library boasted 1092 books and operated a year for $79.50.
In 1910 the library was located in the new school building. The people had become more book conscious for the trustees report that 264 patrons read 3175 books, an average of twelve books to a patron in a year. During 1913 a hundred more books were added to the library.
In 1914 a little sarcasm creeps into the librarian’s reports and Mr. W. L. E. Hunt complains that the number of books loaned from the library was not as large as during previous years. “This is due mainly to the ‘modern’ idea of the merchants keeping books for sale and exchanging them for five cents. Many of the summer guests took advantage of this ‘modern’ convenience and our receipts fell short a few dollars.” Apparently Woodstock had a circulating library in 1914. Books have been received from the Carnegie Endowment Fund. About 1915 an attempt was made by Mr. W. H. Bunton and the Woodstock selectmen to obtain a Carnegie library for the town but it was found that the Carnegie Foundation would only give funds to larger townships. This was a great disappointment but Woodstock has cause to be grateful for her library privileges.
For some time it was customary for books to be loaned from Moosilauke Library for distribution to people living at the south end of the village. After a time, this became burdensome and finally was discontinued. Then south end people could enjoy library privileges only by going the three or four miles to North Woodstock. In 1920 the town appropriated a small sum and a library was started at Woodstock by purchasing 136 books and accepting 174 from patrons. Sadie F. Baston, then a library trustee was partly responsible for this library. For a time the books were distributed from the post office, where May E. Bagley generously contributed room. Subsequently room was hired in the vestry of the Baptist Church and the library was open there once a week. After the church burned in 1935, the library was moved to the Baptist parsonage.
In or around 1945 the library at the south end was moved again, this time to the second floor of the Woodstock Schoolhouse, an elementary school in Woodstock Village. The library remained there until the school was closed in 1954. At that time, both school and library merged with the facilities at the school in North Woodstock.
To meet the changing needs of the school population, the North Woodstock School, which now served as the elementary school for the Lincoln and Woodstock area, took over the Library’s space in 1975. The library was moved to an old courtroom above the North Woodstock Fire Department, sharing the floor with the Town Offices and the Police Department. As the library’s new location was near the elementary school, the library continued to serve as the school library until the North Woodstock school closed for good in 1981.
In 1988 the Town Offices, Police Department and Library moved into a new building a half mile west on Lost River Road.
In the early years, North Woodstock had eight librarians, Miss Nellie Russell, Miss Jennie Russell, Mr. W.L.E. Hunt, Mrs. C. V. Parker, Mrs. Bernice Orozco, Mrs. Fannie Muchmore, Mrs. Emily Avery and Mrs. Thelma Joy. In addition, Jennie Brown, Grace E. Amos and Charlotte Amos served the Woodstock People.
Other librarians at the Moosilauke Public Library since Thelma Joy have been Sybil Canaan, Marcia DeSteuben, Barbara Avery, Jean Rolph, Don Goyette and Wendy Pelletier.