Behind an old-fashioned latch door, lies a whole other world brimming with stories yet to be told and lessons not yet learned. Originally built more than a hundred and sixty years ago, the building that the Richmond public library currently inhabits has been rebuilt many times. The devotion to education that first prompted its construction in 1850, though, has withstood the test of time. From being first used as a schoolhouse, over the years it has undergone numerous transformations the most recent being, in 1962, when it was finally converted into a library.
The library lies in the heart of Richmond and is a small sanctuary for the book lovers of the town. “It’s just a really nice mix of people,” said Wendy O’Brien in a recent interview with the Observer. Mrs. O’Brien has worked at the Richmond public library for eleven years as the librarian and is well known around the community. Whereas other bigger libraries tend to be more business-like and formal, the size of the library in Richmond allows for a more relaxed environment.
Part of the library is a devoted kid’s space in which their extensive collection of children’s books resides. “For the kids, I try to make sure we have books about other cultures,” said Mrs. O’Brien. It is also common for local schools to take field trips to the library where stories are often read aloud to the children. The children’s room is decorated with an animal themed mural which further exemplifies the personal care that the library gives.
For its size, the library does very well at keeping a diverse selection of books for all ages and tastes. Not only are there books, but also movies and TV series on dvd and VHS that are available as well. To keep up with the times and the public’s growing fascination with the online world, the library also houses several computers. “People aren’t so interested in books anymore,” Mrs. O’Brien told the Observer. She suspects that the library will continue to advance with the times and eventually become an even more important fixture in the town.
This public library is important to the town of Richmond for many reasons. Among these is the sense of community felt within those four walls that is really a uniting force for the town. Public libraries in America are immeasurably valuable in our technology driven world and the Richmond public library is just one example of this noble movement.