Bestselling author Susan Orlean, right, poses with a fan after she spoke at the Watertown Free Public Library on Thursday. For writer Susan Orlean, trips to her hometown library in Shaker Heights, Ohio, had been a childhood ritual, a way of bonding with her mother as they collected armfuls of books to read and discussed their borrowed treasures on the ride home. Even today, she can remember the sights and smells of that small branch library, and the thump of the date-stamp machine as it gave the books their due dates. But for all the magic of those early visits, the adult Orlean became more of a bookstore customer than a library patron, a buyer rather than a borrower. She rediscovered her fascination with libraries around 2010, when she took her young son to visit their local library.
The following piece was provided by the Watertown Free Public Library:
Tucked away in the basement of Town Hall, Watertown Free Public Library first opened its doors on March 31, 1869 under founding director Solon Whitney. In those early years, the library was open two days a week, four hours a day. The library was well used, but there was intense disagreement over the value of fiction. In 1882, one trustee argued that “the modern story has no place in a town library.” Some worried that novels would corrupt the minds of Watertown youth. Much has changed in 150 years.
A postcard showing what the Watertown Free Public Library building looked like. It was built in 1884. The date of the postcard is not known. The Watertown Free Public Library has come a long way since it opened on March 31, 1869. In early April, the Library will host a party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the library.
The following announcement came from the Watertown Library:
In March and April, Watertown Free Public Library will offer a wide range of special events inspired by The Library Book by Susan Orlean. The Library Book is WFPL’s 2019 pick for One Book, One Watertown, an annual reading event designed to bring the community together. On April 4, 2019, Orlean will visit the library for an author talk and book signing. WFPL staff chose to read and promote The Library Book this year partly as a nod to the library’s 150th anniversary, which falls on March 31. Librarian Kerrianne Mcquown writes: “We chose The Library Book as our community read because it is a beautiful ode that amply illustrates the importance and vitality of libraries in our current age. Author Susan Orlean will visit Watertown to speak about her book “The Library Book.”
The Kelly Girls will perform as part of the Watertown Library’s Winter Concert Series. The Watertown Library provided the following announcement:
The Watertown Free Public Library’s final Winter Concert features the Celtic sounds of The Kelly Girls. The group will perform at the Library on Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. in the Watertown Savings Bank Room. The performance is free and open to the public. The Celtic band the Kelly Girls have quickly gained recognition as one of the most entertaining Celtic Bands in New England.
Historical interpreter Bil Lewis will portray President James Madison at the Watertown Free Public Library. Former U.S. President James Madison will be the guest at the next Democracy Talks at the Watertown Free Public Library. Historical interpreter Bil Lewis will present, in character, “James Madison and the Coming of Age of the U.S.” on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Watertown Savings Bank Room.
Watertown Free Public Library. As we near the 150th anniversary of the Watertown Public Library, I wanted to pay tribute to this invaluable institution that has had a profound impact on my life. When we think of libraries, often the first thing we think of is books. While the Watertown Library has a great selection of books and is also connected to the Minuteman Network catalogue, the library is so much more than books. In middle school, high school, and as an undergrad in college, I did not have a computer, so I relied on the library computers and internet to do my school work.