By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Plainville Public Library may have evolved through its resources, but its rich history has remained constant in the community.
Established in 1894, the free public library first made its home on Pierce Street—inside the building where the Plainville Historical Society is now located. In 1931, a new library building opened on East Main Street, serving as the home of 4,813 books. But 10 years later, the main floor became overcrowded, and the children’s room was relocated to the library basement.
As the library continued to grow, an addition was needed in 1962. Fast forward three decades later when the library opened its expanded building in 2004. The new addition offered space for 128,000 books, three meeting rooms, and a colorful children’s room.
Despite these aesthetic changes, a restored 1931 section of the building makes the history of the library come to life with marble fireplaces, oak bookcases and pillars and comfortable seating.
“The older part of the building is really classy and contains a high degree of craftsmanship,” said Plainville Public Library Director Douglas Lord. “The newer part of the building picks up on that, tries to maintain a standard of openness and light and space.”
This Saturday (Oct. 7), the library is inviting the public to its 123rd birthday party, which will kick off at 11 a.m. with cake and birthday-themed activities.
Sponsored by Friends of the Library, the celebration will continue with a magic workshop for children ages nine and up from 1 to 2 p.m. Registrants are asked to bring their own deck of cards and a $1 bill for this workshop.
The party will then finish off with a balloon-making workshop at 2:30 p.m. for children ages seven and up. Christina the Magician will lead both workshops.
Lord said the birthday party is a way to honor the library’s past while giving back to the Plainville community.
“It’s a way to say ‘thank you’ to the community and invite old friends and possibly friends we haven’t met yet,” said Lord.
Over the years, Plainville Public Library has helped taxpayers save money in a variety of ways. Whether borrowing a DVD and print books or downloading e-books and audio books to their mobile devices, Plainville residents have access to the library’s free resources and information.
When the digital age took over, this change was rough for many libraries, but Lord said Plainville’s library did a great job of integrating new forms of technology.
Last year, the library also launched a newly designed website, which has continued to attract users. Patrons can access the library’s databases for the latest information from the comfort of their home.
“We do an especially good job of teaching patrons to use various pieces of hardware and software,” said Lord.
Plainville Public Library also has made its mark in a variety of programming for both children and adults every month.
Besides attracting Plainville families, the library also has brought in a number of residents from other communities.
“About a quarter of our total circulation comes from out of town, which is wonderful,” said Lord, adding how library staff members create a welcoming experience for out-of-town patrons.
Looking ahead, the library hopes to focus on digital literacy for adults and children’s programming that focuses on getting youngsters ready to learn. Lord also hopes to reach out to underserved community members.
“There is a fairly significant Polish and Spanish-speaking communities in Plainville, and I want to work with them,” said Lord.
Plainville Public Library’s 123rd Birthday Party will take place this Saturday, 11 a.m. at the library, 56 East Main St., Plainville. As space is limited, registration is required. Register in person or by phone at (860) 793-1450.
For more information, visit www.plainvillect. com/library.