Minuteman Library Crawl lets libraries strut

The assortment of free things for crawlers. Photos by James Kinneen.

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

On August 1, various libraries that make up the Minuteman Library Network - including those of Wellesley, Dover, Sherborn, Westwood and Medfield - hosted a library crawl, designed to introduce people to what makes each and every one of the network’s libraries unique. Community members were tasked with visiting as many of the libraries as they could, finding what they were supposed to find inside of them, and collecting whatever prizes the respective branches had for them.

But obviously, the libraries had ulterior motives.

In Medfield, Circulation Supervisor Matt Costanza explained that for them, the choices in what to find were deliberately made to show off their teen area and unique sculptures.

“We’re encouraging them to either go upstairs to the children’s room and find the sculpture made of recycled plastic bottles, made by an organization trying to reduce waste in town, or to go downstairs, where they’re encouraged to find the fireplace in the teen area, so that they get to see our teen area.”

Even the selection of gifts was designed to show off the library; for their prizes, participants were either to meet with Bri Ozanne and use the button maker to create a custom button, or receive a gift certificate to the library’s store.

In the Sherborn Community Center, the temporary location of the Sherborn Library, organizers opted to present both a kids and adults scavenger hunt. For the kids, a “Toy Story” worksheet was handed out that would eventually spell out “To Infinity and Beyond!” if the kids found every letter they were supposed to. For the adults, the task was to find the bust of Oliver Wendell Holmes.

They were also happy to show off a button maker. “We are really excited about doing some hands-on crafts,” Liz Anderson explained, “so we can rethink libraries and how people come to libraries - now not just to get books, but to interact with each other and learn something new. We have a button maker, which we have at the library all the time, anyway, that people can come to the library and use.”

But it was, of course, their Holmes statue they were most proud of. So, while Sherborn’s librarians can’t keep as many statues as they would like in the smaller, temporary confines of the Community Center, they were nonetheless able to show off their favorite one.

“We have a lot of incredible old art and statues at our library. We’re in this temporary location now, but we brought over some things from our library which is under construction.”

As for prizes, they were giving away audio cords and pencils.

Since they were giving out little notebooks and pens, The Dover Library would have been a good place to start one’s crawl. They had a couple of things to show off, most notably statues created by Amelia Peabody. Peabody loved horses and spent her last years living on a farm. Unsurprisingly, many of the sculptures on display involved horses.

Other than the sculptures, crawlers were charged with finding the tile wall outside of the children’s area. This wall is entirely made up of small tiles that people bought and decorated, with the proceeds from purchasing a tile to decorate going to the library.

It didn’t take much searching to find Wellesley’s new book drop: the smell of complimentary popcorn led crawlers to it pretty easily. But that didn’t make it any less impressive. As books hit the drop, they passed onto the conveyor belt and were automatically sorted into the correct bins.

But with there being so many other branches in town, the Wellesley libraries alone could have put on their own crawl.

“At the Fells Branch, we’re featuring a sign that says ‘Welcome to Wellesley.’ At Hills, there’s a new poster of an Eric Carle blue whale above one of the fireplaces. And here, today, is the grand opening of our new automated book drop, with automated materials handler,” explained Assistant Director Elise MacLennan. “When you put your book in the book drop, it goes on a conveyor belt, gets sorted into a particular bin and barely has to be touched by human hand. We’re very excited about it. We have the garage door open to watch it in action. And, there’s a popcorn vendor!”

Aside from the popcorn, crawlers were also given a Wellesley Library carabiner.

In Westwood, the crawl took on a more personal note. One of the items for which the crawlers were tasked with searching was a small library box in the children’s garden, which was donated by one of the staff members in honor of her mother.

“There’s a small library, which was a gift from one of our staff members in memory of her mom in the garden out back, if people were coming when we were closed,” explained Tisha Perry. “The other is a Rufus Porter mural that was part of a home in Westwood. He painted this on the walls of a house in Westwood, and then it was restored, and a portion of it is up on the library.”

Their’s may have been the best gift of all: everyone received cookies.

For further information on the fantastic libraries of the Minuteman Network, visit www.minlib.net/our-libraries.

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