Talk:Newton Free Library

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Congratulations to whoever wrote and submitted this page! Good idea.

I'd like to offer a comment and a suggestion:

In the "Architectural Features" section, under "Quick Facts," I found it confusing, initially, when my eye was drawn to the link for "Victorian Gothic" architecture. It took about 3 re-reads before I realized that no-one was trying to describe the current library's style as Victorian Gothic! I'm not sure how the confusion could be minimized -- maybe by changing the formatting of "Original building" to make it more prominent? The problem was that my eye skipped right over that line and went directly from "Architectural Features" to the link.

The suggestion/request is that someone add information about the fate of the original building. I believe it was torn down, but I'm actually not sure. And a photo of it, if one is available, would be a nice addition as well.

Thanks for your work!

Aortasprondle 17:49, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Aortasprondle re architecture and the suggestion of "old" vs "new" bldgs. Also I think something needs to be added re governance. Is the Board of Library Trustees the ultimate authority in terms of the library or is the Library simply another department of the City of Newton? To whom is the Library Director ultimately responsible? Or, should a conflict exist between City policy and procedure and the Library, which authority prevails? In other words, is the Newton Free Library quasi-independent of the Mayor's office, or is it like any other city of Newton Department?

Thanks for the feedback! I changed the order of the original building and current building in hope to clarify the "Architectural Features." We are slowly working on this page as a collabortative effort by staff and we are looking to post more pictures, references and current facts about the library. Keep posted and the clarification on the governance and what happened to the orginal building will come soon! Thanks again! --Franklin4 03:13, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Please note that the governance of the library has been added at the end of the history area. In regards to the details of governance the library's ultimate authority is its board but they are appointed by the mayor for five year staggered terms. Section 16-3 of the City of Newton Ordinances state: The superintendent [the director] under the direction and control of the board of trustees of the Newton Free Library shall have charge of the library. --Franklin4 01:56, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Closing of Branch Libraries[edit]

The text seems to indicate that all branches except for four were closed in 1991. The West Newton Branch was closed long before that. clariosophic 02:46, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Clariosophic, do you know date of West Newton Branch closing?

The history written here of the Newton Free Library was interesting, but I would like to see more details. In 2007, Franklin4 wrote more photos were to be added. AS of this date in July 2008, the pictures and history of the original library from Newton Corner and other pictures appears to not have been posted as of yet.

Franklin4 wrote the Library was to be overseen by the "Trustees of the Library." I believe there may be interpretation of the MGL's here.

The Trustees of the Library have a handbook and fall under theState Board of Library Commissioners as well as the State board of Ethics and need to abide to regulations as our "Public Servants." They are not separate bodies, they represent those of us in the public. Their mission is to make sure the Newton Free Library is accessible to the public, and are accountable to complaints of the Director and related responsibilities. In Newton, the current Mayor (Mayor Cohen) has appointed each of these members to the board.

Another point to request clarification. In September 3, 2003, the Mayor appointed Leonard Goldberg and other Trustees of the Library to terms ending on June 30th 2006. This would not be a "staggered five year term" but rather a three year term (or actually, a two year, 9 month term. So it appears there are facts here to question about who is overseeing the library for the public.

I would like to see a history of each of the branch libraries. I would like to see information on the Friends of the Library, and their involvement with each of the branch libraries over the years. I would like to see the "deed" from 1876 for the Newton Free Library, with its statement of this gift was given to the City of Newton so as to forever remain as a library. I would like to see any documents which justify the closing of the main library in 1991, and selling it to a private company. It appears the entire essence of deeds to protect this land for posterity may have been violated at this time.

I would like to see the dates when each of the other 10 branch libraries were closed. I would like to see statistics of any other city with 84,000 people able to provide books and services for their city by closing all of their branch libraries. It appears Newton was one of the only cities in the Commonwealth with so many branch libraries built in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The facts shows this differs from other communities with no branch libraries to start with, and needing to build new branches. I would like to see statistics that show the number of patrons with cars, and those without transportation, able to get on the one and only bus (MBTA Bus 59) traveling to Homer Street in Newton Centre. This bus does not travel after 7:55pm weekdays, making it impossible for patrons to attend evening events at the main library. The access for people with disabilities, elders and children unable to drive, appears to now have been eliminated.

[(talk) 17:09, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't know the exact date the West Newton Branch closed, but I do know that it was closed on my last visit to Massachusetts which was in October 1985. I was very disappointed because in 1945 when I was 5 years old, it was the very first library I ever visited. I was able to print my name which was the only thing I needed to do to get my own library card. Whether my parents or an older brother took me or whether Miss Monroe, my kindergarten teacher, walked her class the few blocks down Chestnut Street from the old Peirce School I can't remember. I do know that, while I grew up in a home full of books, this visit to the children's library in the basement of the West Newton Branch was my first contact with the world of libraries and I was hooked. I remember the solemn quiet and dignity of the place where people only spoke in hushed voices. One set of books that I particularly remember was the orange covered Bobbs Merrill set of biographies of famous people for young readers. I'm sure I read every single one they had. It's a real shame that Newton now has no more branch libraries. The Florida county I live in now has only 20,000 more people than Newton (100,000 to 80,000) but it has one big main library with 5 branches, so that each population center in the county has its own local library. clariosophic (talk) 19:41, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Clarisophic,this is very interesting. What a great memory you have of the West Newton branch library. I recently spoke to a Newton police officer who also recounted his love for libraries grew since he was a child at the library. We have blogs presently at the Garden City website to save our branch libraries. Might you be interested in visiting?

I had queries for the Newton Free Library staff or editors regarding the Trustees of the Board of the Library. The original posting had 5 staggered terms, under Chapter 16th. In peruse of this information, it was found that the maximum terms can be 5 staggered years for each Trustee with a maximum of two terms. There is a clause to allow for the temporary staying on a person once their term has expired, to replace another Trustee. I was wondering if it was practice or protocol for this "temporary" term to last 3 years, after their term expired? Each appointed trustee may also be appointed by the city mayor to serve 2 years or 3 years. For two terms, then the opportunity exists for terms to last a total of 4 years. Chapter 16 also requires for a President of the Board of Trustees be re-appointed on an "annual" basis. It also requires for their to be a secretary re-appointed on an annual basis. This by Chapter 16, seems to be included so as to provide an ongoing turnover of Trustees, possibly for fresh ideas. In practice, this is not done. The current President, Audrey Cooper, has reportedly been on for 5 years. Her term expired June 8th. Other Trustees, such as Sandra Butzel, reportedly had her 2nd term expire June 2005 although she is listed as a current active Trustee on the Newton Free Library website, and still attending meetings. I would be interested to learn if this was an oversight or other practice,and reasons associated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:46, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

This was posted on the Flickr website about the Newton Free Library. It states that it is one of the top 5 libraries in the US. I visited the American Public Library Ratings website, and saw it was not listed in 2006 statistics. The 2007 have not come out and there was no 2005. So I am curious how Newton Free Library is the top 5th and where this is presented?

"The Newton Free Library, dedicated in 1870, is a large public library with 4 branches in Newton, Massachusetts, which provides an extensive collection of print, non-print and electronic resources, WiFi, comprehensive reference service and a wide array of educational and cultural programs for people of all ages. We have been recognized as one of the top 5 libraries in the U.S. within its population range category by Hennen's American Public Library Ratings." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


Rajmaan (talk) 22:06, 11 January 2013 (UTC)