Friday, August 15, 2014

285. Aldrich Public Library, Barre, Vermont

Barre, Vermont, is a noted center of granite quarrying, and granite is evident everywhere in town, from curbs to statues--and in the handsome Aldrich Library. A room to the left of the entrance has a massive fireplace and houses biographies and reference books. Patrons are asked to "leave reference books on the tables or return them to the circulation desk"--in other words, don't try to reshelve them! The room on the right side also has a fireplace and is set up as a "living room" for browsing periodicals.

I saw a display for a program that intrigues me: Adopt an Author. Adoption means that you agree to buy the library at least one copy of each title published by your chosen author, for at least one year, and you can get it/them at a discounted price. In exchange, you will be the first to borrow that author's books.

Some very old architectural features are still in evidence, if not in use, including a dumbwaiter (I'm sure it was once used to retrieve books from stacks on various levels) and heavy wooden pocket doors between the entry/lobby area and the stacks.

In the newer section, a set of old card catalog drawers is being used for seeds. This is a bright, light area with a full window wall. Computers are in carrels, new books are labeled with their acquisition dates (11/13 is new?), and many VHS tapes are still circulating.

The lower level houses the Katherine Paterson Children's Room. Paterson is a resident of Barre! When I arrived, a summer lunch program was in full swing with four or more tables in use. I'm not sure, but it appeared that adults were eating, not just kids, a difference from my home in St. Paul, MN. The space includes plenty of room for a wooden railroad, a toy kitchen, and a puppet theater. Of course there is also a large Real Good Toys dollhouse; Barre is the home of this well-known manufacturer of quality dollhouse kits.

I did not meet any of the people who helped me out a few months back when I was trying to recall the name of a book set partially in Barre; it turned out to be Bread and Roses, Too, by Katherine Paterson, and I recommend it to you if you like historical fiction and would like to know about the connection between Barre, VT, and the mill strikes in Lawrence, MA. But I did meet and chat with several very nice staff people, and I'd like Nancy to know that I will pick up The Flint Heart at the Minneapolis Central Library tomorrow.

To learn more, go to the library's website at or

8/12/2014, car


  1. I very much like the sound and look of this one (except the VHS). Thanks for your ceaseless wandering!

  2. Have to disagree on the VHS. So long as there is space, and patrons want them, let's keep them circulating and let them die from attrition. I personally prefer VHS and audio cassettes to DVDs and CDs.
    However, you are very welcome for my ceaseless wandering--though I'm very glad to be home.

  3. Lunches are available free to anyone 18 and under and can be purchased by adults for $3, so we get some hungry parents as well!

  4. Thanks for the explanation, "Aldrich Teens." Many libraries here in Minnesota are part of the summer lunch program for kids up to 18; I'm not aware that any of them allow adults to purchase lunch. It's a great idea, both providing low-cost meals AND allowing parents to eat with kids.


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