Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A life of lovely LIBRARIES.

I've wanted to do this post for a while, because in case I haven't said it enough, I LOVE THE LIBRARY.  I thought it would be worth highlighting the various wonderful libraries that I've had the pleasure of living near throughout my life.

Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Some of my very earliest memories are of going to the local library with my mom.  My first local library was the Bill Memorial Library in Groton, CT.  Up until we moved at age 10, "the Bill" was an easy 5 minute walk from our house.  How great is that?
Bill Memorial Library, Groton, CT
I went to countless story times there as a tyke. I remember following my mom through the stacks of the adult section as she picked out books, spending many hours browsing the kids section, and I volunteered there for a period of time in middle school.  This library is super cool, because it's quite old, very small and cozy, and has a lot of history behind it.  There's even an interesting-slash-creepy butterfly collection in the attic.  If there is a place where my love of books began, this is likely it.

We moved across town when I was in 5th grade, and even though we made the drive back to the Bill often, the move put me closer to the Groton Public Library , which is bigger and has quite a few more resources for visitors.  Not as cozy as the Bill, but a great place for studying...I remember spending way too many hours here doing AP English homework and researching colleges in my junior/senior years.
Groton Public Library, Groton, CT
After high school, I headed to college at UConn and had 4 years of visiting the Homer Babbidge Library on campus.  The place is impressive--UConn is a Research 1 institution, so naturally they have a library to match.  However, my memories of this place are less filled with pleasant, literature-filled lazy hours, and more filled with OMG MY FINAL IS TOMORROW HOW DID I FORGET WHAT A COVALENT BOND IS ALREADY (yes, my first all-nighter took place here).  Even so, there are two locations that have more lighthearted memories for me in UConn's library: the Bookworms coffee cafe on the main floor, and 3 North ("study" area on the 3rd floor, north side of the building).  3 North was affectionately nicknamed the Dry Bar.  No work gets done there.  I'm pretty sure that's still the case.
Homer Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut
After college, I moved just north of Albany, NY, and the now-husband and I lived in that area for the next 8 years.  In the first apartment we lived in, the local library was the William K. Sanford Library in Colonie.   These were my early post-college years, when I first re-connected with the library after living in textbooks for 4 years.  I wanted to read ALL THE THINGS and would spend ages just wandering the stacks in wide-eyed wonder.

Then we moved to our first house a few years later, and our new library was about 15 minutes north, the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library .  When we moved to Clifton Park, I realized something wonderful: the Sanford Library is part of the Upper Hudson Library System, which encompasses over 30 libraries around Albany.  And the Clifton Park library is part of a different system that covers 8 counties north and west of Albany.  For two years, my library cards at both places were active.  DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY BOOKS I HAD AT MY FINGERTIPS?  The power was great.  I could interlibrary loan literally anything you could think of.  It was amazing.  **geek moment**
Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, Clifton Park, NY
Nerdy stuff aside, I will always have very fond memories of the Clifton Park library, because that is where I took Small Fry to his very first story times as a baby (only 3.5 months old for his first one)!  Awwww, love of libraries coming full circle.  CPH really does an amazing job with their children's area and activities.  Plus, this is where I got attend my first author event, as they hosted Dennis Lehane there in 2012.

Then, of course, we made our big move to western New York in 2013.  First, we had a brief 6-week stint in Batavia, NY as we waited for our house to come available.  Even though we were only there a short time, our rental was just a couple blocks from the Richmond Memorial Library .  Small Fry and pregnant-me took many, many summer walks there in the few weeks that we lived in the area.  Richmond library reminds me an awful lot of "the Bill", with it's older exterior, though it has gotten a facelift in recent years.  This library is smaller in size, but offers a surprisingly large number of programs given the size of the surrounding community (Batavia is fairly rural).  I didn't love living in Batavia, but I will say that the Richmond library provided some of the best memories we have there!
Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY
Finally, on to Rochester.  I was quick to figure out my library options when we got here.  I live on the western side of the city, but my library card is good at any of the 31 libraries in Monroe County, which rocks my socks.  We actually have several of those libraries in close proximity to our house, and make a point of visiting at least one of them each week.  Our current favorite is the Chili Public Library (affectionately referred to by Small Fry as the "train library", thanks to the awesome Thomas the Train table in the children's room).
Chili Public Library, Rochester, NY
It's a small-ish library, but the staff is SO nice, and they put on a ton of fun programs for kids.  (And yes--this is where Tater Tot got to attend his first story time! Memorieeeeees.)  Plus, I suspect that Small Fry has a crush on Miss Jill, one of the children's librarians, so chances are he has an ulterior motive for all our many, many visits here.

Quite the litany of library experiences I've had in three decades!  I look forward to many more years of literary memories, and new libraries to explore.

(And if you haven't gotten the subtext of this post yet--VISIT YOUR LIBRARY!!  So much to see and do...not just books, but often craft programs, book sales, free museum passes, book clubs, etc.  Most of it free, too.  BONUS.)

Tell me about your favorite library memories, reader friends!


  1. It's great to read about your library memories. I love that old library in Groton, and I envy you having access to 31 branches now (around here every library is its own entity). I did a post just like this some time ago. http://www.emeraldcitybookreview.com/2014/07/my-life-in-libraries.html

    1. Yes, I have to say the old one in Groton is my favorite! Off to read your post now...I love checking out other people's libraries. :)

  2. I love this post and libraries!! As an adult I have always lived in cities with great library systems and for that I am grateful. The last time we moved one of my requirements was to be close to a library. Now we live just a block and a half away from one.

    1. Yes, it is fortunate to be able to leave near good libraries. I know some areas (especially rural) don't always have that luxury. A block and a half away--I am jealous!!

  3. What great post! I love libraries so much that I became a librarian when I grew up and even though I'm no longer working in the field, the library is still the place where I get the majority of my books.

    I grew up in Rochester, NY and the West Irondequoit branch of the library was my favorite place to go in the summer.

    1. I have considered going back to school for an MLS. Something tells me I would be very happy there. :)

      Haven't checked out the West Irondequoit one yet! Will add it to my list. I'm hoping to make it to the one in Greece soon, I've heard good things.

  4. I love this post! It makes me think of the many libraries I've visited in my life, though none are as cute as the Bill. I've moved a lot and it's nice to think that I've always had a library to visit. I kind of want to do up my own post... it's been forever since I've looked at some of the buildings!

    1. I hope you are able to do a post like this! It was fun taking a trip down memory lane. :)

  5. This is so awesome! My library is part of the Mid-Hudson system, so I totally relate about the over of like a gazillion libraries at your fingertips! And then I have a library card to Westchester county system too which is huge. The only thing that would make my reading life even more complete would be to join the NY Public library too :-)

    Tanya Patrice

    1. Oh goodness, I can't imagine the luxury that the NY Public Library system provides...gah!!! :)

  6. Oh my gosh, the Bill is ADORABLE!!! Fun!

    1. I feel like it gets more adorable with age. I went back a couple of years ago with Small Fry, and it was still awesome.

  7. Look at all of the wonderful libraries you've had in your life! Oh my word, the Bill? GORGEOUS!

    1. Yes, and it's right across the street from a huge Revolutionary War battlefield/memorial. Kind of a neat historical atmosphere.

  8. Love this post! I've blogged about some of my libraries in the past. They are just so wonderful - nothing quite beats the one you went to as a kid, I feel.

    1. So true! Early memories of the library are definitely the best ones.

  9. Great post -- It made me reminisce about the library in the small town where I grew up. I used to fantasize about getting locked in there for the night!

    1. You know you are an awesome kid when your fantasy involves getting locked in the library!! :)

  10. I love this post! Here is the best library door ever --- in a little Oregon tourist town of 800 people:

    and then an older post of mine on libraries too!

  11. This is a great post - libraries were like home to me when I was a kid, although they are not as beautiful as some of the ones you went to! I'm fortunate to live across the street from a very nice library, and I'm only now starting to discover all the different activities and resources they have. I've joined as a "Friend" and will be volunteering in this spring's Book Sale. I have no idea why it took me so long!

    1. You know, I've been considering doing the same thing. A Friend membership at my local library is not expensive at all, I should really just do it! When my kids get older (into school full time), I already plan to volunteer there as well.

Imagination Designs