Back in my hometown of Natick, MA and checking out the new (well new to me) Morse Institute Library, which is grafted onto the original one –
– very cool that they’ve left all the old building – the brick and even a few of the original rooms are visible inside. It’s not really recognizable to me as it’s so huge – except when I saw the old entrance as I left. It makes for a fascinating design though.
And I love the combo of modern architecture and 19th century design.
And the old is everywhere in the new structure.
My mother tagged along (she was Assistant Director there in the 1970’s) and we spoke to two very friendly and helpful staffers in the children’s area and one, Susan Marie Barnicle, told me that they have wireless and about 22 public internet terminals (they do give guest passes) and that they are getting about eight Sony Readers to lend to the public. She also said they had a computer classroom where they provide classes to patrons.
There are loads of meeting rooms and a community room, along with the longest and prettiest wheelchair ramp I’ve seen. There’s a lovely periodical area, a local history room and they’ve lovingly preserved the stained glass memorial to war veterans in the original foyer.
And I love this digital slideshow composed of pics taken by Marguerite Krupp, a volunteer at the library.
Good to see MA is investing in their libraries though I know it’s hard here. Natick is a big town and Morse is a great library with a good collection, but the service doesn’t seem to be as equitable in many New England areas as every little town has a library (rather than forming big library districts where cost efficiencies are easier to implement). Yes, there’s lots of individuality and you can get most anything by ordering through a cooperative network like Minuteman, but I don’t know if individuality is a good thing when it comes to services, policies and hours – it can be confusing and inconvenient for customers and a deterrent to their using the library. When I moved to CO, the whole county system really threw me as the only “county” thing I remember about local government was that we voted for a county sheriff (never heard anything about them after the election though) and had county courthouses for bigger trials. But having lived in CO for awhile and adoring collaboration as I do, I really appreciate the productiveness of the countywide system vs. every little town having their own library, government, school system etc.