New guide showcases art, furnishings at Yarmouth Library

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YARMOUTH — A guide to the art work and historical furnishings at Merrill Memorial Library has been created.

Merrill Memorial Library Arts, a committee that curates art for the library, has compiled a booklet that describes the art in the building and the history behind each piece. The 13-page guide features 27 pieces.

“It adds another aspect to the value of the library,” Marlise Swartz, of the arts committee, said. “If people want to know, now they can.”

The book was made possible by a $500 grant from Summit Natural Gas. Swartz said the grant allowed the committee to make the book “sturdy and in color.”

It took the arts committee a few months to research the various pieces of art and put the guide together. Swartz said the Yarmouth Historical Society played a large role in creating the guide.

“The historical society was very helpful because they had so many things for us to draw on,” she said.

The guide features paintings, portraits, tables, desks, antique books, a card catalogue and more. There is a photo of each piece, a paragraph describing the history, and a map showing where each piece is located.

“With the card catalogue, it’s not a significant piece, but it’s a part of our history and it shows how libraries have changed,” Swartz said.

Swartz said the guide reminds people how the use of libraries is evolving and it shows people where Yarmouth’s library started. Many of the portraits in the guide are of people who played a role in the creation of the library, including Joseph E. Merrill.

“I hope it stimulates some curiosity and garners some appreciation for the people before us who had some foresight to do something that would benefit the whole community,” she said.

Swartz said the guide showcases pieces that are often overlooked and “taken for granted.”

“We’ve got art exhibits that we put up all the time, but this brings attention to the other things that may not be noticed,” she said. “There are many things people look at, but don’t see.”

A couple hundred copies of the guide were printed and are available at the library’s information desk. The booklets can’t be checked out, Swartz said, but people can pick up a copy while perusing the library.

She said history buffs will find the guide very interesting.

“For people who love history, they’ll enjoy this,” she said.

The guide is geared towards everyone, though.

“It’s not intimidating,” Swartz said. “It’s just an easy recognition of the things that have collected in the library and the people who made it happen.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Marlise Swartz, of Merrill Memorial Library Arts, stands in the library below Alfred “Chip” Chadbourn’s painting “Yarmouth Bypass,” which is one of the many art pieces described in the new library art and furnishings guide.The booklet, “A Guide to the Art and Furnishings of Merrill Memorial Library,” was created by the library’s art committee to help residents understand the history behind the building’s artwork.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.