WINDHAM – Its shelves now bare of books, the little building that housed the South Windham Library could be doomed if no one steps forward soon.

Meanwhile, teenagers and residents in Gorham’s Little Falls and the South Windham neighborhood are feeling the loss of the one-room library that closed earlier this month because of declining patronage.

Public use of the library dwindled in recent years. A few volunteers struggled to keep it open in the once-vibrant mill village that had several stores, a pharmacy and a barbershop.

Now, even the mustard-colored library building, a fixture on Gray Road since 1934, is going. If no one moves it, the building will likely be razed.

Despite being closed, flowers bloomed this week in window boxes on the quaint library on the Gorham banks of the Presumpscot River that divides Gorham and Windham. But, a flag no longer waves beside its front entrance – even the flag bracket is gone.

The town of Gorham owns the building, but it is located on private property. Gorham Town Manager David Cole said this week that several people have looked at the building, but so far, there have been no takers.

Cole said the deadline for offers would likely be the end of this month.

“We’d take the best offer, including free, if that was the best offer,” Cole said.

Teenagers walking past the building Tuesday lamented the closing of the library and recalled memories of the women who had staffed it.

“The ladies were really nice,” Adrianna Tolman, 14, of Windham, said. “They gave us cookies.”

Katie Lord, 13, of Gorham said she misses the people at the library “a lot.”

Esther Noble, who died in July 2011, was one of the faithful library volunteers. Noble and Lorraine Jonassen, 90, who owns the land under the library, were the head librarians.

Jonassen was librarian 21 years and Noble, 27 years.

The towns of Gorham and Windham both contributed to library expenses, augmented with fundraising. Jonassen said continuing to ask taxpayers for funds could not be justified.

“We had no recourse but to close it,” Jonassen said Wednesday.

Jonassen and her late husband sold the building to the town of Gorham for $1 in 1992, with the provision that the building would have to be taken away when it ceased as a library. When she and her husband bought land in 1978 to build their home, the library building came with the site.

In recent times, the library had been open only two days a week, but the teenagers were frequent visitors. “The kids loved going to the library,” Tolman said.

Jonassen said all the library’s books sold for 50 cents, paperbacks for 25 cents, and a bagful for $1 in three sales. She said that the furniture and even the heater were sold.

A final sale Aug. 4 dispersed remaining books. Allene Bowler, a member of the library’s last board of trustees, said some of the bookcases have been spoken for, but final disposition rests with the Gorham Town Council.

Bowler worries that the building will be demolished. “I am still hoping for someone to come forward and move it,” Bowler said.

Teenagers with thumbs-up Tuesday say they’ll miss the closed South Windham Library and the women who staffed it. The library served Gorham and Windham. Pictured from left are Jordan Winant, 15; Adrianna Tolman, 14; Nick Nielsen, 15; and Katie Lord, 13, of Gorham. (Staff photo by Robert Lowell)

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