The Week in Library Land: September 1 to September 7

And now for something completely different! From a week with 14 library visits to just two this week. It’s like we needed to come up for air or something. It was also a short week, what with Labor Day, so that gave us less time for visiting. Here’s the recap though!

On Wednesday, we were at the Needham Public Library. We’ve visited before and found it to be a really solid suburban town library. On this occasion we were meeting with a prospective SharpOrange client. We were able to reserve a study room in advance (bonus!) and had a great conversation with an interesting company. The fellow we were meeting with mostly works from home and he seemed into the idea of using the library - even if only for a change of scenery and pace. We couldn’t agree more.

The library itself is pretty awesome. It’s got an older section that looks to be from the early 20th century and a nice 21st century addition. There are three plain but comfortable study rooms, a couple of nice old reading rooms, and lots of more contemporary seating areas. There’s also a ton of parking in two separate lots. On the downside, you need to go to the reference desk for the WiFi password. What’s up with that? We’ll definitely make this library as a more regular part of our Library Land rotation! Library Land Score: 4.27.

On Thursday, we visited the Greenfield Public Library. This wasn’t our first visit. That was back in the fall of 2017, and in some ways, set us on the path to Library Land. (You can read about that visit here.) This visit was super interesting and we’ll be writing a separate post about it (and a certain parade appearance). We were there to meet with people from all different parts of this vibrant community to learn about their really important, Library YES campaign, the goal of which is to fund and build a new library. For the moment, we’ll just look at the library itself and leave the all-day visit - alone for the moment.

The Greenfield Public Library.

The Greenfield Public Library.

The main part of the library is in a lovely old house from the 1790s. It retains many of the features - and limitations - of being in what was a home. On the main floor is the circulation desk, a small reference area, a collection of movies, and new arrivals. In wings to either side (built in the early 19th century) are public computers and the children’s section. To the rear of the building, in an addition from the 20th century, are the stacks and teen area. None of these spaces are especially spacious, but they have their charm.

In the basement are two meeting rooms whose better days are behind them. The basement is also the only accessible entrance to the library, which is something everyone agrees needs to be addressed. There’s also a book sale area that’s not generally public, as well as the only restrooms available for patrons, which are on an incline that would be nearly impossible for patrons in wheelchairs to use.

We spent a lot of time with the staff and they were amazingly generous with their time and insights. As I said, we’ll be writing and sharing more about our visit, but this post is just focused on the space. As charming as it is, it has plenty of things that need attention. The limited public parking, lack of meeting spaces, accessibility issues and overall condition aren’t really in keeping with the needs of this wonderful little city. Library Land Score: 3.36.

Well there you have it. A short one, just a couple of visits, but another awesome week in Library Land.