Wednesday, July 27, 2016

423. Bigelow Free Public Library, Clinton, Mass.

The Bigelow library is diagonally across the street from a large park with a fountain and bandstand. An indication that this library does a good job of using its local resources is their "library laps in the park" program: meet at the library, walk and talk, track steps. Tuesdays at 5;30, and I'm sure they'd love to have you join them.

Clinton's library started as a subscription library in 1846. In 1902 it opened to the public in this Carnegie building.

One unusual feature of the library is the first-floor ceiling, which is made of tiles or bricks laid in a herringbone pattern. I was told that this is the same as the ceilings at the Boston Central Library. It's very unusual and eye-catching.

When I entered, I immediately noticed a very large table with new books displayed on individual easels. I think this table must be about 12 feet by four feet. Beyond it to the left are large print books, non-fiction, local history books, a portrait of John F. Kennedy, and another very large table, this one clear for use as a study table.

Back to the central area inside the door, where there are DVDs on spinners, six computers for patron use, and the service desk with its very friendly staff.

From here I headed up the stairs to the children's area. The stairway was brightened by fingerpaintings done by kindergarteners. At the top of the stairs was an easel with large chart paper and the beginning of a cumulative story titled "On the Road to Rio." Each sentence was in a different handwriting; it wasn't clear who was doing the writing. Perhaps it was the teens, who have their space right here at the top of the stairs. And by the way, that space is theirs alone from 2:30-6, Tuesday through Friday and 9 to 1 on Saturday. (The library is closed on Sunday and Monday.)

There is a display about the Rock and Roll Reading Marathon. The marathon takes place all day on Wednesdays. Kids can sign up for a 15 or 30 minute session to sit in one of the rockers and read aloud to family and friends. The librarian told me that the goal of 15,000 pages has already been met. That a lot of pages, a lot of reading. Three cheers to the readers of Clinton! The marathon theme relates to the upcoming Olympic Games, of course.

Before entering the preschool children's area, I walked through a room that holds the children's non-fiction and fiction collections along the wall. It was interesting that classic fiction books have their own section; among others, I spotted books by C.S. Lewis and Mark Twain. This large room had obviously just been used for a craft project of some sort. All sorts of material was lying around, including a large cushion that was shedding stuffing. What on earth? The puzzle was quickly solved when the librarian explained that the morning's program had involved packaging raw eggs so that they could be dropped from some height without breaking. And I understand that three teams actually accomplished this goal. I wish I had been there earlier to see this.

The picture above shows an array of cut-and-colored birthday cakes. If a birthday child comes in, she or he can color a cake and receive a free book!

Some of the resources available for preschool

The aftermath of the egg-packaging project.

Kindergarten finger paintings along the stairs

One more program mention: a sign at the landing invites carers to bring children two to five years old to the library at noon on Fridays for Lunch Bunch. Participants bring their lunches, and I assume there are stories and games and such.

I was given a list of the Summer Reading Program activities, and it is long and varied, ranging from movies to trivia to an obstacle course, a scavenger hunt, and more. Very impressive, Clinton!


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