Baker Free Library

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Baker Free Library

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Landscaping Plans 2024

July 2024

Eastern Valley Landscape is enhancing the front area of the library by installing beautiful paved patios, creating inviting spaces for patrons to relax, read, socialize, and more. Although removing the foliage from the building's base was a significant change, it revealed the original library's architectural beauty.

Images taken by Eric Anderson

The library, constructed in 1914 by architect William H. McLean, follows the neoclassical style of École des Beaux-Arts. McLean's firm built over thirty libraries in New England, showcasing similar architectural designs, including those in New Hampshire. Library Director, Martin Walters and Library Assistant, Amelia Holdsworth explored these NH libraries to document architectural similarities, offering insights into the library's original design.

Unfortunately, the weathered state of the cast lions on the front steps was a cause for concern. Due to irreparable damage to one lion, the Library Board of Trustees decided to remove them. Trustee Chair, Bob Arnold successfully rescued one lion, known as Leona, ensuring her preservation for future display.

Interestingly, the lions, named Leo and Leona, were referenced in architectural drawings from the library’s 1960's renovation. The history behind their names remains a mystery – were they named by the architect or by patrons who cherished their presence?

Images Taken by Eric Anderson

While Leo lives on in memories, the hope is for Leona to remain at the library for years to come. Although the lions were not original to the library, historical images reveal the presence of lamp posts and 'Lamps of Knowledge' flanking the facade from 1919 to 1945, with one globe shade missing from a post. These elements were seemingly replaced when the lions were introduced.

As the renovations continue, the library staff and patrons eagerly anticipate the unveiling of the newly enhanced front area. The patios, adorned with stylish outdoor furniture and vibrant plantings, promise to transform the space into a lively hub of activity. Visitors will soon enjoy the serene ambiance, perfect for reading a book under the shade of a tree or engaging in spirited conversations with fellow community members.The harmonious blend of historical preservation and modern enhancements ensures that the library will continue to serve as a cherished gathering place for generations to come.


June 2024

As mid-June approaches, notable changes are taking place in the landscaping at Baker Free Library. Two key projects involve the retrieval of a time capsule from 1977 and the relocation of two war monuments.

In May 1977, the Bow Men’s Club organized the burial of a time capsule at the library's front entrance. Paul Violette, who attended the event as a young boy, provided images of the occasion to the library. Locating the buried time capsule was a challenge, but with assistance from Tim Sweeney, the Director of Public Works, and the Eastern Valley Landscaping team, Library Director Martin Walters successfully uncovered it. The time capsule now rests in a secure location and will remain sealed until the Town's 300th Anniversary.

Time Capsule Burial May 1977 - Images provided by Paul Violette

Time Capsule Retrieval June 2024

On the morning of June 11th, the war monuments were delicately relocated to their permanent spots. Eastern Valley Landscape expertly placed the monuments in position near the library's entrance from the parking lot. Keep an eye out for updates on the unveiling of the monuments, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony upon completion of this phase of the project.

The complete landscaping plan is showcased in the library and is available for viewing during the library's operating hours.

May 2024

Here at Baker Free Library we have the honor of being the caretakers of two war memorials – the WWI and WWII monuments. For decades, these monuments graced our front lawn; unfortunately, for subsequent decades following the various stages of library expansion, these monuments essentially became part of our “backyard” laying in the shadow of very large trees. 


With the new landscape project beginning this month, we are excited to be able to reposition the war monuments. Improving outdoor library space is simply a continuation of the development of Baker Free Library that began with the first renovation in the 1960s. Today, your public library provides free access to the information marketplace and is a cultural, educational, and social hub for the community; consequently, it is perfect for us to be able to honor those heroes who fought for these freedoms by placing our war monuments front and center once again.


April 2024

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."


As Marcus Tullius Cicero noted thousands of years ago, a garden and a library make a perfect combination. Baker Free Library could not agree more with the ancient philosopher. This April, we celebrated World Landscape Architecture Month with the unveiling of our new landscaping plan. First mentioned in 2022 with the removal of the linden trees, the landscape plan has been developing through various stages. Baker Free Library has an excellent facility, amazing staff, incredible programs, and a strong collection. What remains is creating beautiful and functional outdoor spaces for our patrons to enjoy. With the aid of a local landscape architect, Suzanne Smith Meyer and landscaping company, Eastern Valley Landscaping Baker Free Library is ready to move forward with this exciting project.