Wednesday, July 27, 2016

424. Harvard Public Library, Harvard, Mass.

My library hobby has now taken me to Cornell and Harvard, how about that? Of course, what I mean is Cornell, Wisconsin (tiny) and Harvard, Massachusetts (not tiny). It's been a long day today in Vermont, NY, and Ontario, but I'm going to get a post in here or I'll never catch up.

This library has an interesting history, including being a school at one time. A plaque near a quiet reading room says, "Mrs. Margaret Bromfield Blanchard founded this school in 1878 for the higher education of youth and to perpetuate the memory of the Bromfield family from which she received liberal bequests that enabled her to accomplish this beneficial purpose". The new part of the building was dedicated on April 7, 2007. I was allowed to go up to the top level, where the headmaster once had his office. There is a nice auditorium here that is still in use for programs.  The space totally reminds me of every private school novel from "a certain era" that I've ever read.

This is the older part of the library...

...and this angle shows the newer part.

It would be easy to get lost here, and I'm sure I missed some nooks and crannies, perhaps whole rooms. Here's what made it into my notes:

To the left as you enter is a "living room" area with large windows and many easy chairs. A bay or alcove to the side has more chairs and tables. This area includes large print fiction, audio books, lots of music CDs and DVDs, and mystery fiction.

I went upstairs and found the non-fiction area. On the way up, I saw this posted in the stairwell: "Gentle reminder, all conversations in stairwell echo."

There are four study tables by windows that look out on a patio. No one was there, as the temperature was very hot. There are four computers for Internet access. A rounded window area has easy chairs, and there are two quiet study rooms that can seat four and four easy chairs for relaxing. A sign reminds users that "This is a SILENT work area. No conversations." But it goes the next step and lists places in the library where quiet conversations are welcome. That seems to me to be very positive and respectful.

Fiction is in the older part of the library. There is another quiet reading room here, with a fireplace and the periodical collection.

Now, the children's area, which is downstairs in the newer building. My first impression was of color, color, color. If you told me the list of colors used, I would tell you "That will never work." But it does work, and the result is fantastic.

The wooden train set and one of the large window seats

Secure display cabinets for interesting little objects at kid height

The program room is behind the yellow wall.

The auditorium on the top floor

A casual seating area between the old and new parts of the library

Wooden shelves and cabinets from the old library

A program that intrigued me: The Battle of the Beach Reads!

Looking at the old entrance from a different angle


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