Friday, May 31, 2013

160. Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY

This library has special significance because my Aunt Ruth McEvoy was the Director here from 1963 to 1971. I visited it once, probably in the late 60s, and would not have recognized it!

This is only the second library where I have seen overhead signs on brackets, sort of like street signs, sticking out over aisles in the "stacks." I like them. Cards on the shelf ends give guidance beyond merely labeling with the range of Dewey Decimals on that shelf. One example: a circle with the words "hello, bonjour, hola," and beneath that "Language" and "400-499."

There is a coffee shop with soda and pastries, right in the main part of the library; I wonder what Aunt Ruth would think of that?

The older part of the library has a fireplace; split wood in an adjacent rack suggests that it may actually be used at times. This area holds rockers, easy chairs, large print books, and the periodical collection. Current issues of periodicals are in stiff plastic holders that slide into diagonal grooves on recessed shelves. That's a system I haven't seen before, and it's very neat and classy.

In the DVD section, I noticed that the library hosts a movie and discussion evening once a month from January through October.

My memory said that there was a main floor and an upper level. Now, I learned, the upper level is the attic, and my aunt's office was probably there. The children's area is and was on a lower level, but my aunt probably saw no need to show it to twenty-something me!

Although the children's area is below ground level, it is brightened by a very large window that looks out on a garden with sculptures representing classic children's books. Colored dots on their spines guide one to concept books: colors, numbers, alphabet, shapes, and also early readers. I like the "pond" rug in this area. Signs suggest that "If you don't see the book you're looking for, please ask." A sign on a basket on the floor says "Looking at a book and don't want it? Let us return it to the shelf for you." I noticed a stack of plastic shelf markers (place holders) on the librarian's desk with a suggestion that one "try one of our new shelf markers," but I gathered that these were not being used widely or correctly--yet.

The children's librarian has a sign at her desk "Bother me! I'm here to help you." So I bothered her, and she was delightful. We talked about the blog, about libraries we've visited, about children's programming. While I was there, a group from the Y preschool program visited, and when I was leaving, a parochial school class, perhaps middle school age, was coming in. This indicates how central the library is to the city.

As nice as it was talking to the children's librarian, I think the finest moment came just before I left. I was talking to a librarian on the main floor about Aunt Ruth. The librarian reminded me that Ruth wrote a History of Batavia; she commented on the wonderful index and said she refers to it almost daily. Yay, Aunt Ruth; I always did like her.

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The entrance I remember

The newer accessible entrance

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