Thanks so much for the great response to this blog!
A special thank you to those who have passed it on to others. We are heading quickly to amazing page visits to this blog! Welcome to folks from all over the country and other countries as well, including Lisbon!!

The "Village", as it was called, is located in the northwest corner of the city of Taunton, Massachusetts U.S.A. It covers about 1 square mile with the center being School Street. A large portion of the Village population was Portuguese when I was growing up.

This blog covers a lot of the history of the Village, much to do with my years as a child there: 1940 through the late 1950's. I do have many wonderful photos and information prior to that that and will share those as well. Always looking for MORE PHOTOS AND MORE STORIES TO TELL.

If you would like to send photos or share a memory of growing up in the Village
e-mail me at
feel free to comment on the posts. Directions are on the right side of the blog posts. Jump in, the water is fine and it is easy!!!

I will be posting photographs but not identifying individuals unless I have permission or they are a matter of public record. It you wish to give me permission, please let me know.

I am looking for any and all photos of the Village...

Please note: the way blogs work is that the latest post is first. It you would like to start from the beginning of the blog, check out the post labels on the right of the blog and go from there. Thanks.

Friday, June 7, 2013

ah, our library back in the day....

Now that the past series of research laden posts are behind (for now at least) - time to get into more bits of nostalgia.  Visiting the past is a rich experience, I learn that each time I set out on a new post.  One of the subjects I have had on my bucket list of blog posts is the Taunton Public Library.

As soon as we could ride our bikes out of the Village and beyond, we headed for the Library. I have such dear memories of seeing what seemed like an unlimited amount of books facing me in that Children's library.  The chairs and tables fit me perfectly.  There was a quiet that allowed a child to become lost in each book turning the pages for  something new.  My imagination found fodder there.  Soon also, I began to do posters for the librarian which fostered my art career.  A new Children's Room was dedicated in 1964, but it is the old dear one that holds a special place in my heart and memory. The first Children's library, the one in my memory, was created by Edwin Hills in 1908.  This was a project close to Mr. Hills heart as prior to that only those age 15 or over could enjoy the library,  Mr Hills took on the position of librarian at the new 1904 Library and worked there for the rest of his life

The current Taunton Public Library was opened in 1904 and funded from a Carnegie Foundation grant of $70,000 that had been given to the city for that purpose.  There were libraries all over New England funded by the Carnegies.  This is a early photo of our library which
was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984..

If you notice, there are wrought iron railings on either side of the main steps.  These were steps going down into the rest rooms and also, on the left, to the first children's library, the one I frequented as a child. (Remember the big wooden holder for the rest room key?)
It was cool down there as all was stone. 
It reminded a child with a vivid imagination of a castle keep.
The children's library was below ground but there were windows looking up and out so it was not dark.  Little ones could read at a small table to the left of the librarian's desk.   It was in that library that I learned to love words and so often, the illustrations that went with them.  The librarian knew of my growing interest in art, and often asked me to design posters for some event or another.  That encouragement meant the world to me.

The mother library of the current one was established by an ordinance passed by the Taunton City Council on March 21, 1866 and was located above the the Bristol County Savings Bank.  Three libraries: The Taunton Social Library,the Young Men's Library Association and the Agricultural Library agreed to combine their book holdings which collectively totally 6,000 books.  That first library occupied the top floor of the bank until the present library was built in 1904.

Maydell Murphy was the first head librarian and was appointed in 1932.  She established reading rooms above each fire station in the areas of Taunton: Whittenton, Weir and East Taunton.  During the War and Depression years the Library faithfully served all the citizens of Taunton  providing shelter from  constant fears and worry.

Maydell Murphy

 We all remember the wonderful Ruth Snyder who later succeeded as Head Librarian. 
 Ms. Snyder with her beautiful black braids circling her head. I regret
that I have no photo of her.

      Check out this site for more library history

No high tech in those days - or much tech at all.
 A table held stereoscopes and cards like these
to be viewed in 3 D.  Remember?

This is pretty interesting, I never gave much thought
to how these were done.

To  check a book out?  The sound of that date stamp telling you when it was due back.
The neat thing is that you could see who checked the book out before you.
It was exciting to get to take some books home.

Later, when we were in high school and had research to do, we graduated to the upstairs adult library and learned about the Dewey Filing card system, and the magic of "the stacks".

Thanks to Pinterest for many of these photos

and to the 
Taunton Public Library Research Department
 for their assistance regarding Edwin Hills.

Like so many other things in our memory, the library as we knew it is fading fast.  They are still around but are no longer the magnets they were.  As I am doing now, with my computer and the internet, marvels of information are at my fingertips.  But, it is a solo occupation.  My office does not have that smell of books and newspapers and no one is hushing me.  But, I still love to wander the stacks of libraries when I can, for I do not always know what I am looking for....there is still the excitement of the hunt.  And the wonderful, consoling thing is that children still love books, turning their pages, and listening to a beloved voice read the words.  We just have had an experience no one will have again.

For that  experience I am deeply grateful.

I am hoping that you have more to share about the library in Taunton.
As I am far from there, I am counting on others to fill in the gaps.

Want to share a story?

1 comment:

  1. Seeing that ship made me think how my Nana ,Delphina, must have felt coming to the Americas with her infant alone at 16 years old. Very courageous and must have loved my Grandfather to do it. When we knew here she was so changed by his death that I never saw that woman of before .