Posts Tagged ‘library’

Hello, friends. It has been hot here in Boston (though I hear some relief might be on the horizon), and my workplace is still operating on a hybrid model. I like the flexibility of having a work-from-home day each week, but I can’t spend all day in my studio apartment without going a bit mad – especially when the temps are in the 90s. So I’ve been heading to (where else?) the local library on Tuesday afternoons to work.

I love the Eastie branch library: it’s airy, open and welcoming, with a cadre of friendly librarians whose faces I know now. It has air-conditioning, free wi-fi, and (of course) lots of books nearby. I bring my laptop and settle in at one of the tables, getting up occasionally to stretch or refill my water bottle. The people-watching, when I need a break from work emails, is always excellent: Eastie is truly multicultural, and the folks who use the library are multigenerational, too. There are worker bees with laptops, like me; folks who come in to use the public computers and printers; children coming in and out for summer reading programs; and lots of teenagers, who drift in and out during the afternoon.

I love both the idea and the reality of third places – those locales, neither work/school nor home, that bring people together and foster connection, as well as serving other purposes. My beloved Darwin’s in Cambridge was my third place for a long time; ZUMIX, my workplace, is a vital third place for the young people we serve. I love watching and participating in the library as a third place, too, and seeing my community thrive here.

Yes, it gets a little loud sometimes – but the presence of other people is often the whole point. I’m grateful the library is just a short bike ride away.


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Candy-colored fiction, thoughtful memoir, wisecracking YA romances—I build my stacks online, then walk down the greenway for pickup. I miss browsing, but the library still nourishes my brain and heart. 

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selfie stripes library Boston

I don’t take many selfies unless I’m running, but I snapped this one during a mid-morning break at the library. They make the best chai in the neighborhood, and the baristas are so nice.

It’s very me: striped dress (a recent clothing-swap find), my favorite necklace (just out of frame), sunglasses on my head, a few wayward silver strands peeking through the brown and red. Long lashes, pink cheeks, tired eyes, a half smile. Just another weekday morning – and I love that this project calls us to pay attention.

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I’ve already posted about our Quincy public library, which is gorgeous and medieval-looking, and has a great selection of books and DVDs. But a few weeks ago, I went downtown to the central Boston Public Library – and oh. My. Goodness.

The building dates from 1840, and is richly decorated inside with murals and marble and stone lions and the like. And they have an exhibition of vintage travel posters on right now. I was thoroughly enchanted.

The front of the building is elegant and imposing:

And there are lions guarding the front staircase (stone lions always make me think of Aslan):

The lighting is understated and lovely, and there’s lots of marble:

And the vintage travel posters were a dream:

There’s also a lovely courtyard, complete with fountain:

And millions of books, of course, but I wasn’t quite comfortable taking photos in the actual book rooms. Nevertheless, isn’t it stunning? They have regular author events and changing exhibitions. I’ll be going back. Obviously.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time at the library lately. This will surprise none of you who know my bookish tendencies, but just let me SHOW you our library. You won’t believe it:

Doesn’t it look like a castle, or a fortress, or something out of Lord of the Rings? And yet I assure you it’s set on a very ordinary downtown street, near City Hall and an apartment complex and various municipal offices. (That’s the spire of Bethany Congregational Church in the background.)

Even the font over the door looks Elvish:

I love the sign above the door proclaiming “Free to All.” Getting a library card was one of the first things I did on arrival – after all, what is life without being able to browse good books?

Most of the library is modern inside, well-stocked rows of shelves filled with fiction and biography and mystery and so much more. The children’s room, decorated right now in a Lorax theme, is a dream (unfortunately I have no photos). And the DVD selection is great. But the restored Richardson Building, the west wing, is truly breathtaking:

It’s the periodicals section now, but boasts some lovely stained-glass windows and a quiet, reverent atmosphere. Reminds me of Oxford, unmistakably. A perfect place to study or write.

We have three other library branches in Quincy, and our libraries are part of a network of libraries south of Boston, so we can get books and resources from those too. I feel so lucky! An embarrassment of literary riches.

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Small (and large) blessings today:

-The word “serendipity”

-A trip to CS to see several of my old co-workers

-Lunch with Charity in my sun-drenched apartment…BLTs and fresh fruit and birthday dark chocolate. Yummmm.

Charlie and Lola DVDs – my “birthday-esque” present from Charity. Yay!!!

-Soft peppermints from Carlene’s office.

-A Betsy sighting in the Campus Center. Third one this week!

-Spending the rest of a gift card on Amazon. Two books and one musical soundtrack CD, coming up. 🙂

Small (and large) blessings yesterday:

-Making communion bread in my kitchen with Jeremiah, then sharing it with the group at Come As You Are. The body and blood of Christ…broken and spilled out for us…and for all the messes that God loves.

-Doing laundry at Jeremiah’s. Thank God for benevolent boyfriends. (Although it benefits him too when my clothes are clean and smell good.) 😉

-Lunch with Stephen at Rosa’s…taco salad, painted parrots and hilarity. I have SO many more good friends than I deserve.

-A glorious, decadent hour spent in the public library, checking out so many books they had to give me a bag. One mystery, one memoir on friendship, one totally fun “girlfriend” book, one book of essays, and one Irish novel. Mmmmmm….delicious.

-My first visit to Monks coffee shop, in downtown Abilene (you can view their Web site here). A yummy “very wild berry” smoothie, funky green couches, local art, indie music, a chalkboard menu and the chance to just be. I will be going back. Perhaps tonight.

Thought for the day: “Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.” -Alfred North Whitehead

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