Lakeport Community Association

Junction of Elm Street and Union Avenue, Lakeport Square, NH

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Friends of the Goss Reading Room

Posted by lakeportcommunityassociation on July 5, 2010 at 9:32 AM

This is my comment at the first meeting to establish a Friends of the Goss Reading Room hosted by the Lakeport Community Association at the Lake Opechee Inn & Spa on June 2, 2010.

 

 

Friends of the Goss Reading Room

 

      It looks like the Goss Reading Room has some friends and I’m sure more will follow. Thank you for coming.

     The Goss Reading Room is that lovely little red brick building on a knoll on the corner of Elm and Franklin Streets. Even though it’s been there for over 100 years, some don’t know it’s there and others don’t know it’s a library. But we do. 

     In 1890, Lakeport established a library. In 1893, when Lakeport annexed with Laconia, this library and its books merged as a branch of the Laconia Public Library. Dr. Ossian W. Goss was not happy about this. In 1903, a devastating fire destroyed much of Lakeport including Dr. Goss’ home on the corner of Elm and Franklin Streets. Dr. Goss planned to rebuild but since his wife and only child had died, he included a bequest in his will to build a reading room instead of a house. Three trustees were empowered to oversee erecting the building and operating it. Just weeks later, Dr. Goss died.

     The trustees took great pain in the design and construction and finally in 1907, the Goss Reading Room opened to the public with little fanfare.

     For over 100 years, this little library has served our grandparents, our parents, you, your children, and your grandchildren through depressions, recessions, wars and hurricanes.

I walked across the footbridge and met up with that cute redhead, Ginger Tefft to go across Elm Street to the Goss to read The Bobbsey Twins. Our beloved librarian then, Marie Prey is your beloved librarian today, Sue Laramie.

     The Goss was so treasured that it was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1986.

     Yet, recently the Goss was threatened with closure for the lack of users and to save less than $20,000 as a budget item. The Goss still has funds and the Goss still has friends.

Lois Juris and her class of first graders from Elm Street Elementary School are friends.

The Lakeport Community Association has been a friend for years. While there was a lack of fanfare when it opened, the Lakeport Community Association organized a grand fanfare for its 100th Anniversary celebration on the back lawn of the Goss in 1907.

     Other friends have planted flowers and donated books, paintings and other treasures and funds. Former Mayor Charles H. Perkins left the Goss $81,000 when he died in 1948.

On July 30, 2009, Armand Bolduc and I met with the Laconia Public Library Board to seek information on the Goss. I proposed plans to establish a Friends of the Goss Reading Room and Armand Bolduc resolved to look into issues with parking and signs.

     The problems plaguing the Goss were not having the three designated trustees from Lakeport – a doctor, a lawyer and no, not an Indian chief but a minister – and the lack of parking which created the Catch 22, a lack of use and enthusiasm. We must find a solution to the parking issue so we can use it.

     And that is why we are here tonight. We must save it and use it by making it easier to use. It is very important to the Lakeport community, its residents, its businesses, its history, its culture and its future.

 

     Our goal tonight is to establish the Friends of the Goss Reading Room. Thank you.

 

There are very many Friends of Library organizations in New Hampshire.

 

                                                                  Dorothy Duffy

                                                                  Secretary

                                                                  Lakeport Community Association

DD ~ 7/5/10

 

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