This Week in Library Land - April 20th

This past week was a pretty quiet one in Library Land. Maybe it was the crazy week the week before or maybe it’s because we know we’ll be seeing a ton of libraries next week? Hard to say, but regardless of the reason, we visited only three and a half libraries. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything notable - no, not by a long shot.

On Wednesday, we visited the Fields Corner branch of the Boston Public Library. It’s a neighborhood library that is dreaming of bigger and better things. The current space is a little worse for wear but there are plans to begin planning for what’s next at the branch. Plans to plan, as you can probably imagine, those better things may still be a ways off. With this visit we’re down to just three libraries in Boston - Egleston Square, Parker Hill, and Charlestown.


Later that same day, after watching Liverpool defeat Porto in the Champions League, we saw first hand how library services are there when you really need them. One of us (no naming names) was on deadline to print out and mail taxes. It was already after 5p.m. and the only place to go was the Central Square branch of the Cambridge Library. It’s a library that hadn’t scored well after our first visit and didn't feel like one we would be rushing back to anytime soon. However, in a moment of need, this library came up huge. One of the great librarians helped with an expired library card and re-registered a password, explained how to use a wireless printing system and shared that the library allows the first 10 pages of a print job to be free. Good luck getting that at a Staples or traditional copy center or shared office space. Total clutch performance!


On Thursday we set turned our gazes west and made our way to Webster. We were so impressed by the Gladys E. Kelly Public Library that we wrote about it right then and there. Our first perfect score! Thinking about it, though, we realized that a perfect score doesn’t mean the best or perfect library. No, there are others that have also impressed us and delivered intangibles that make them perennial favorites. That’s not to take anything away from this wonderful library though!


In a disappointing development, a planned trip to the Frenchtown New Jersey public library was thwarted by its limited hours. Open only four days a week, this one will have to wait for a future visit. Based on conversations with people around town, it sounds like this is a small but vital resource for the community.

So that’s last week in a nutshell. As mentioned above, the coming week - which will include the start of our library tour across Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and beyond - is bound to be a busy one. You’ll be able to read all about it here on Library Land.