Tuesday, July 26, 2016

422. Bolton Public Library, Bolton, Mass.

After four years of visiting and blogging about libraries, I have finally made it to Massachusetts.
The Bolton Public Library was erected in 1903, expanded in 2009. and dedicated in 2010. The original is a handsome stone building, and the expansion fits the building and the surroundings.

A reader's garden with several benches greets the library user. This would be a delightful place to sit and read or chat.

Here is another view of the old part of the library, featuring the roof tiles and the tall windows.

It's not a library program, but I was delighted to see a flyer posted advertising a Forest Play Group for parents who believe in as much free play as possible. There is a wonderful forest, or woods, adjacent to the library just a stone wall away. 

OK, through the large, modern doors and into the library. A good-sized room for community programs is on the right. Straight ahead in the central space near the service desk, at the foot of the stairs, is a "community loom," where everyone is invited to add a strip to a rag rug or wall hanging. It was more than half done, and I saw a completed one upstairs in the Teen area (I think). What a wonderful collaborative idea!

A reading room in the old building is brightened by the high windows in the second picture above. There are easy chairs, a coffee table, two long study tables with what look like original reading lamps, books, periodicals, and an injunction to bring NO food into the library. Light fixtures mounted above each section of wall shelves make it easier to read titles.

This room feels very special, and one of the most interesting features is a 1904 map of all the libraries extant in Massachusetts at that time. Each library is represented on the map with a line drawing of the building. The bottom of the map informs the viewer that in 1904 there were 228 library buildings, 425,000 volumes, and circulation of 9 million!

One wall houses the on-going library book sale, with a nice selection of books. I found and bought four for next Halloween. (No candy at my house--at least, none for the kids who come to the door.

Next, I found a room with an enormous stone fireplace, easy chairs, and the new books display. 

The Whitcomb History Room holds volumes related to local history. This room also has a fireplace, and I'm sure that in 1903 these fireplaces were all needed. Many of the old books were in special bookcases where they reside behind metal grilles. A special display showed photos of the old building under construction. A sign reminds users that "If you decide to have a small group meeting here, remember that everyone has access at all times."

This is a complex library, with lots of specialized rooms. Therefore, it was good to see the color-coded map of each floor posted by the stairs. I went up the stairs and found a very large, probably old, dollhouse. There was a sign telling about a mouse that lives beneath the grandfather clock but is never seen. I may be missing some details there, but I'm sure it charms the kids who come up here to their special area.

In the children's area, the windows in the mural shown below look down into the lobby. The librarian told me that the artist who created this mural did wonderful programs with kids, telling them about how he does his job. Do you see the blue seats? Do you perhaps wonder about the light-colored pieces poking out from under the seats? Feet!

There are all the expected types of books and a row of three tables runs down the center of the space between shelves of picture books and easy readers.

Teens also have space on the upper floor, with easy chairs, a window seat, two Internet computers, media, graphic novels, and other books. There are a couple of study rooms for small groups, and a space with a table and chairs, just big enough for two.

Have I found every room? Not quite. Another room on the upper floor houses fiction stacks. The only categories I noticed were general fiction and mysteries. Back on the first floor in the new building, I found non-fiction stacks, eight computers, two study tables, and an alcove for a copier. And in case this was all too stressful, there is a table with coloring sheets and crayons. I didn't stop to color--this was the first of three libraries I planned to visit today, so I had to keep moving.


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