Thompson Free Library was dedicated September 9, 1898 and opened the following day in what the Piscataquis Observer described as a “gala day.” Dr. Elbridge Augustus Thompson, among other town dignitaries, delivered a speech. A renowned local poet Anna Boynton Averill read her poem “The Thompson Free Library.” The program ended with the singing of “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee).” A supper was served at Central Hall and the library was open for inspection while a military band played outside. The next day, the library was open for business, circulating books.
The library was a gift by the aforementioned Dr. E. A. Thompson in memory of his wife, Lucia, who passed away in 1896. A Civil War surgeon, he returned to Dover and practiced here until he retired at the age of seventy-five. Dr. Thompson paid for the library’s construction and set aside funds for the library’s continued use. He entrusted the care of the building to the town, to “keep in good repair the building and pay all necessary running expenses.” An Association and Executive Committee were created to govern the library.
Through the years, the town, the library, and the staff have worked together to make Thompson Free Library the flourishing institution that it is today. A major renovation was unveiled in 1972, including the area where the current circulation desk, offices, restrooms, and computers are. Another much larger addition was completed in 2006 which includes the children’s and adult fiction sections. The addition of the pavilion in 2023 marks the latest addition to this beloved landmark of our town.