November 17, 2021
“We first opened in 1881 and were originally located in the basement of Saco City Hall. It had dirt floors covered in hard pine, a furnace and black walnut bookcases. In 1955, we moved to the location we still are today, previously owned by the Deering family and built in 1869.
Dyer Library has been a customer of the bank since the 1800’s, and the Deering family had a long connection to the bank over several generations. Many of them worked in different leadership roles locally, even serving as Board of Trustee members. The family took a liking to the library because they saw it as a community hub where well-to-do men and women were philanthropic in their community.
We have an old vault that was once part of the bank located in our cellar, brought here by one of the Deering family members after he retired from the bank. And supposedly, this was the first house in York County that had flush toilets, but we don’t know that for sure. What we do know is that the generosity of both the Deering family and Saco & Biddeford Savings has been of great benefit to us and the community at large.
To experience a library to its fullest, you have to go in and explore your options in-person. I don’t know anyone who comes into the library and looks around with discontent. It’s just a great place to visit, regardless of your age. There’s something for everyone here.
I don’t know if there is any other library and museum combination in the country that’s like what we have here in Saco. And all this time, we’ve been a private nonprofit. So instead of being a department of the town, we’re our own little thing. Every year, we have to go to the town and ask for money, so it's certainly not automatic we get funded. We try our best to raise the funds through events and book sales.
Before the pandemic, we were seeing almost 200,000 customers each year between the library and museum, and checking out almost 170,000 different items. These numbers have dropped, but we’re slowly building back up again. We’re a community center after all, and we’re not just here to provide books. We have programs to support early literacy, host book reading events and do as much as we can to support others on a larger scale.
Saco & Biddeford Savings Bank has truly played a huge role in our success. They’ve always been so supportive of us and we are deeply appreciative of that. Being customer of the month is just another example of their kindness and appreciation toward us, and for that, we can’t thank them enough.” - Leslie Rounds, Executive Director of Dyer Library and Museum
Thank you, Dyer Library, for all you do and for all the years you’ve been by our side.
We appreciate the community service you provide and are happy to support your mission in helping children develop early literacy skills.