Our Curious Name

Skidompha Library is a state-of-the-art facility with a curious name that reflects the history of the Skidompha Library Association. In the 1880s, a social literary club was first formed to raise money for a new organ at the Damariscotta Methodist Church and later, to discuss and collect books. 

Skidompha is an acronym of letters in the names of Skidompha’s founding club members:

  • Ellie Stetson
  • Judie and Addie Kelsey
  • Ida Benner
  • Mrs. James David
  • Mrs. Osman Plummer
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles Merry
  • Mary Pinkham
  • William K. Hilton
  • Jennie Ames

In 1905, the Skidompha Library Association was incorporated and its collection of 1476 books was given to three towns, Damariscotta, Newcastle, and Nobleboro, as the start of a Free Public Library. The library was established above the Charles M. Jones Grocery Store on Main Street in Damariscotta.

By 1922, the collection numbered more than 6000 volumes, and more space was needed. The Skidompha Club joined with the Damariscotta-Newcastle Women’s Club to purchase the Dixon property on Main Street. In early October 1922, the Library reopened on the first floor of this historic 1803 house, and the Women’s Club used the second floor for meetings and social events.

In 1997, Skidompha Library Association was faced with the same problem as its predecessors over 75 years before: lack of space. The collection had grown significantly. Despite a modest addition to the Dixon House in the 1980s, there was simply not enough room to meet the demands of a growing and diverse population.

Barbara Cooney Porter, internationally acclaimed children’s book author/illustrator and Damariscotta resident, led the way to a new facility. Mrs. Porter’s munificent gift of $550,000 to Skidompha in 1997 launched an ambitious capital campaign for a new Skidompha building. Generous local residents, businesses, and foundations raised over $3.2 million to support the project over the following few years, and doors to the new Library opened in May of 2001.

The new Skidompha Library is a first class facility designed to meet Library needs well into the future.