Venue Spotlight: Attleboro Public Library

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The Attleboro Public Library in Attleboro, MA is an amazing resource, not only for research, but for recreational reading, programs, children’s activities, games, yoga, magazines, and informative displays. There is so much available at the library for every member of the community, but first, I’d like to talk about the building.

The building is beautiful. If you’ve read my blog post about the Ezekiel Bates Masonic Lodge, you may have realized that I’m an architecture nerd, but I’d like you to read about the history of the building directly from the Attleboro Public Library’s website:

The library opened at its present site on 74 North Main Street in November of 1907. Although from its beginnings in 1885, the collections of the “Attleboro Free Public Library Association” had been housed in buildings near the center of the city, there had not been a dedicated library building until J.L. Sweet donated land for one. His only stipulations were that the building be complete within a three year period of time and that it cost at least $25,000. The architectural firm of MacLean and Wright won a design competition for the building, and a local contractor, Grant Brothers, was hired to build it.

Construction costs were approximately $85,000, far surpassing Mr. Sweet’s request.

The original building was beautiful and ornate in execution but very simple in organization. One entered from front center stairs into a central foyer, which faced a small horseshoe-shaped main desk. The reading room to the left was dedicated to children’s service, the one to the right was for adults. A metal self-supporting book stack that was behind the desk and in the basement beneath it as well, held the main collection. The stone stairs that led from the entrance went to a grand gallery and meeting room on the second floor.

Modifications and additions were made to the building over the years. Most important was a series of additions (constructed 1962 to 1974) that were put on the back of the building to gain office and stack space. The latest construction and renovation project (1992 to 1994) maintained the beauty and dignity of the original building but expanded the usable space and allowed for an increase of approximately 50,000 volumes in the collection.

The stone building is quite lovely in the beaux arts style, meaning it’s super fancy with lots of details, like the fan or scallop shell shape above every possible corner of the building. I especially love the front entryway, where ionic columns (that means they are pretty plain, but have the fancy scroll on top) hold up a large triangular pediment with more decoration inside it. This style of building was quite popular from the 1880s up until the 1920’s when Art Deco became more popular.

But I seriously digress. The Attleboro Public Library has way too many services, programs, and, yes, books and movies, to mention here in this (not so) short blog. Suffice it to say that if you need something to do, or some entertainment, please look through their calendar of events or the SAILS library network of books and movies. My favorite thing (of course) is the museum passes, provided by the Friends of the Attleboro Public Library. It’s a stellar list and well worth a perusal once in awhile. I’ve used them and so should you! Check the list and availability of passes.

The Jewelry City Steampunk Festival will be active in the Attleboro Public Library on October 28, 2017 from 10am-4pm with lots of panels, programs, and a gaming room. Thank you Attleboro Public Library, Friends of the Attleboro Public Library, Board, and employees for having us on this day! (and, y’know, the tireless work you put forth on a daily basis to keep the library awesome!)

~Heather Rockwood, Festival Director


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