Audet, Virginia E.

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Photographs show how the Newton community gathered, young and old, families and individuals, on the brick plaza of the Newton Free Library at 330 Homer Street for a grand opening celebration on Sunday, September 15, 1991. In a light rain, some sheltered under umbrellas, residents enjoyed the festivities. Fall refreshments of apples and cider were offered to guests while they experienced multicultural music, dance, and theater events. With Mayor Mann shown in attendance, civic groups and entertainers of all sorts performed under a canopy, on a platform, or wandered as minstrels and storytellers. (For a complete listing of events, see the Newton Graphic supplement, "Inside the New Library: Your Grand Opening Guide to the Newton Free Library's Resources and Special Events," dated September 11, 1991.) These celebratory exterior photographs taken by Reference librarian Virginia (Ginny) Audet also capture the beautiful interior design elements, functionality of the layout, and inviting grounds of the new library. Highly polished granite floors reflect patrons at the Reference and Circulation desks; a spiral staircase and shafts of light lift the eye to the third floor; patrons use computers to access the catalog when a modern design plan disallowed a card catalog. The library's art collection is splendidly placed and newly appreciated. After four additions to the original library at 414 Centre Street during 1886, 1912, 1928, and 1952, the original library building, which had opened its doors in 1870, was considered inadequate to serve a growing library patron base in a time of expanding access to world information and new technologies. As early as the 1960s, debate commenced, sometimes contentiously, over construction of an expansive new building. One of the snapshots captures a small group of picketers carrying signs, one charting, "Village Library's 0, Ted's Mansion 1" and another showing percentages for "Teachers, Cafeteria Workers, Fire and Police." In Newton's village-based city with multiple library branches and a separate children's library building, Library Director Mrs. Tashjian envisioned a central library where all could gather together in the same place, including families, have access to a broad range of materials, and enjoy cultural offerings. To be located on a new site away from its original Newton Corner location, across from Newton City Hall in Newton Centre, the construction of a new library was finally approved over twenty years later. The Newton Tab reported on May 28, 1986 that the architectural team of A. Anthony Tappe and Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood had been selected to design a new library. The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the site plan in June, 1987. Groundbreaking occurred July 27, 1989 on the 4.588 acre site, with a plan for a three story, 91,405 square foot library. The landscaping views crossing over Homer Street show how a new government center and feeling of welcome to the Garden City was created by virtue of the proximity of City Hall to the new library. This album contains photographs taken during those first early fall months of the library after it had officially opened its doors on September 16, 1991. Designed for flexibility of use and arrangement, the new library building, later named for Mayor Theodore Mann, the photograph album documents the Newton Free Library's original arrangement and new landscaping.

From the description of Newton Free Library Grand Opening Celebration Photos, Fall 1991, 15 September, 1991 - ca. November, 1991. (Minuteman Library Network). WorldCat record id: 774036546

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Brother Blue. person
associatedWith Hill, Ruth Edmonds. person
associatedWith Kallman, McKinnell and Wood. corporateBody
associatedWith Mann, Theodore. person
associatedWith Newton Free Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Tappe, A. Anthony. person
Place Name Admin Code Country


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Ark ID: w6v48c10

SNAC ID: 141685