About HPL

Vision Statement for Hampstead Public Library

To be the community space where people gather and grow.

Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees, 2/18/2015
Revised,  9/20/16

Revised 1/18/2023

Mission Statement for the Hampstead Public Library

To empower community connections and ideas.
Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees, 1/21/2015
Revised, 9/20/2016
Revised 1/18/2023


About the Hampstead Public Library

The town of Hampstead has a history of supporting libraries. Dr. Josiah C. Eastman, in 1849, representing Hampstead in the Legislature, introduced a bill entitled "An act providing for the establishment of public libraries" which was signed by the governor shortly thereafter. This act provided that any town in this state at any legal meeting may raise and appropriate monies for the establishment and maintenance of a public library. It also stated that any such library establishment would be free to every inhabitant of that town.

In 1797 Hampstead had a "social library". Later the Sunday School Library at the Congregational Church was the source of fictional reading for both children and adults. Nearly fifty years after Dr. Eastman introduced his bill Hampstead acted to establish a town library. The beginning of the public library came when Nelson Ordway offered to give $1,000 for the purchase of books if the town would furnish suitable housing and caring of them. The first Hampstead Public Library was opened in 1888 in the brick house on Main Street opposite Heath Road. Willard F. Williams was the owner of the house at the time and he was appointed the first librarian. A branch of the library was maintained in East Hampstead for forty years under the care of Mrs. Mary B. Darbe.

Gifts by Mr. Ordway and his son Henry C. Ordway, supplemented by town appropriations, made possible the charming white building on Main Street adjacent to the Congregational Church. This building was dedicated on May 18, 1897 and was in continual use as a public library until June 4, 1994. The building was made to accommodate more than 10,000 volumes for a population under 1000 people. In 1974, the downstairs was furnished as the Marjorie Kirkness room, named for a former trustee. In 1982 the children's collection was moved downstairs to the Kirkness room, and in 1990 a handicapped ramp was installed.

As the town grew, so did the needs for more space and services. Study and Building Committees were organized and met diligently until the Stewart building, part of a business complex, was purchased by the town from monies voted at the March, 1993 Town Meeting.

It is hoped that this building will continue to fulfill the requirements of the original state library act for "general diffusion of intelligence among all classes of the community," as well as carrying on the tradition of the Main Street facility: providing a stimulating environment for a variety of cultural activities for patrons of all ages.

The second floor with space for non-fiction, reference, study and meeting rooms opened in 2004.  Since then the library has been growing and thriving, the collection almost doubling in size with the addition of new formats and downloadable content. With library visits increasing by 120%, circulation has almost doubled as well.  Meeting room and study room use has increased by 461% and computer use has increased by 139%. 

The library also has a virtual presence with an up to date web site featuring an active Facebook page, museum pass reservation software and electronic resources.  Our very popular electronic newsletter and electronic message board keep the community informed of the library programs, services, collections and news.

History of the Hampstead Public Library Directors


Willard F. Williams 1888-1896
Fannie Foote 1896-1897
Mary L. Hoyt 1897-1916
Mary L. Darbe 1906-1917
Clara E. Darling 1917-1942
Bertha Whiteneck 1942-1945
Jayne Clark 1946-1949
Velma Beaudoin 1949
Katherine Barthelmess 1950-1951
Bertha Whiteneck 1951-1963
Hazel Harland 1964-1976
Elizabeth Rooney 1977-1998
Judi Crowley 1998-2008
Peggy Thrasher 2008-2011
Debra Hiett 2012-2015
Rosemary Krol 2015-2023
Kate Thomas 2023-Present


History of the Hampstead Public Library's Current Building

1984  Building Committee formed to investigate options and present a plan to the Trustees.
1986 Town Meeting: addition to current building presented to the Town for $425,000. Defeated by 11 votes.
1987 Town Meeting: Offer of land presented to Trustees. Offer to last for a maximum of 3 years. $50,000 voted to begin development for a new facility. Full architectural plans completed.
1988 Town Meeting: New building proposal of $950,000 to be built of offered land. Defeated with 58% of the vote.
1989 Town Meeting: New building proposal of $825,000 to be built on offered land. Defeated with 65% of the vote (14 votes). $100,000 passed toward a Capital Reserve fund for the library. (Offer of land withdrawn by donors)
1990 Town Meeting: $100,000 addition to Capital Reserve fund defeated.
1991 Town Meeting: $100,000 addition to Capital Reserve fund approved.
1992 Town Meeting: $100,000 addition to Capital Reserve fund approved.
1993 Town Meeting: $332,000 from Capital Reserve released for purchase and renovation of building located on Rt. 121. $250,000 approved to complete first floor and basement.
1994 Library moved to current location at 9 Mary E. Clark Drive.
1995 Town Meeting: $50,000 to establish a Capital Reserve Fund towards the completion of the new facility. Defeated.
1996 Town Meeting: $25,000 to establish a Capital Reserve Fund towards the completion of the new facility. Passed.
1997 Town Meeting: $25,000 to add to the established Capital Reserve Fund. Defeated.
1998 Town Meeting: $75,000 to add to the established Capital Reserve Fund to install the elevator towards the completion of the new facility. Release of $25,000
2004 Second floor of the Library dedicated on September 18, 2004.
2023 Library community pavilion construction completed March 29, 2023. See a time lapse video here!