Archive for the ‘Dedication of the 2001 addition’ Category

October 14, 2001

Crane Memorial Library In 1880 Albert Crane wrote to the Quincy selectmen that the Crane family wished to build a library in memory of his father, Thomas Crane, the library “to be known as the Crane Memorial…” and “to be held in trust forever by the town… for the free use of the town as a Public Library Building.”

Quincy has held this library “in trust” for one hundred and twenty years, adding another chapter to its history with this beautiful addition, and preserving its history with the loving restoration of the Richardson building.

Hundreds of people have contributed to this project with their skills, their time, their services and their creative efforts. Hundreds more have donated nearly one million dollars to commemorate what the library has meant in their lives and the lives of those they love.

Exterior of the 2001 addition to the Thomas Crane Library

Libraries contain the history of our civilization, and the stories of the people, both humble and famous, who make up this history. Libraries open the doors of learning and literacy to people of all ages, from all walks of life, free to all. The mission of public libraries remains as vital to our country as it was one hundred and twenty years ago when the Crane Memorial Library opened its doors.

Today we rededicate ourselves to these ideals of freedom and literacy for all as we begin a new century of library service in this hallowed place.

—Ann McLaughlin
Director of Libraries, Thomas Crane Public Library

By Jessie M. Thuma

Fireplace in the Richardson building before restoration It started in 1882 as a monument to a wealthy stone contractor who got his start in Quincy’s granite quarries: a library-simple but stately-designed by the most famous architect of the time, Henry Hobson Richardson. Inside its granite and brownstone walls, Quincy’s 9200 residents-including the descendants of John Adams, the second president of the United States-could sit by the fireplace and read from a collection of 12,000 books that included such titles as Bigelow’s Travels in Sicily and Malta.

The dedication today of the newest and largest addition to the Thomas Crane Memorial Library marks the transformation of this National Historic Landmark into a library that preserves that architectural legacy, while making room for the books, computers, and meeting spaces that will serve Quincy’s diverse population of 88,000 well into the 21st century.

“It is a credit to all those people, like John and Abigail Adams and the Crane family-who promoted education and the arts,” says Quincy Mayor James Sheets, for whom the new addition will be named. “They would be proud to see that tradition move forward in a building that fits so well with the original Richardson library.”

The $16 million addition is also a credit to the people who paid for it. From private donors and public businesses that contributed tens of thousands of dollars, to countless individual patrons who for three years dropped loose change and dollar bills into the collection jars that sat out on every circulation desk in the library system.

Restoration of the Coletti reading roomoletti Quincy family physician Paul Ossen paid for both the restoration of the old reading room with its cathedral ceilings and massive windows, and the construction of a new browsing room on the first floor.

Library staff and local politicians worked with the Massachusetts legislative delegation to secure a $3.5 million grant from the state’s Board of Library Commissioners. Friends and family of the late city councilor Patricia Toland led the effort to have the Children’s Library named in her honor.

Help came from outside the city as well, when Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David McCullough hosted a reception and lecture that helped raise more than $25,000.

New Children's Library Like the founders of the original Richardson building, these people demonstrated their belief that the library is a vital part of the intellectual and educational life of a community. “You don’t build libraries for the short term,” says Mayor Sheets, explaining why the city opted for such a large expansion. “You build them for the generations to come.”

Pulitzer prize winning author David McCullough Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough is not in the habit of giving free lectures, or reading to the public from one of his works in progress. But McCullough, whose new biography of Quincy native and second U.S. president John Adams now tops the N.Y. Times nonfiction best seller list, bent his usual rules when he hosted a gala fund-raiser for the new library addition on a cool evening in early June 2000.

“I felt so strongly that the library in Quincy especially deserves support,” says McCullough, in a warm voice familiar to many who have heard him narrate documentaries on public television.

Book cover of John Adams, by David McCullough “This is the hometown of the man who signed legislation that created the Library of Congress. He was the most widely and deeply read man of his day, whose wife loved books as much as he did-who together raised one of the most literate and articulate men in history.”

Quincy’s elected officials and community leaders, along with 150 history buffs, paid 50 dollars each to hear McCullough speak about John Adams and read from his then-unfinished manuscript. Some, like Lions Club members Brenda and John Reed, paid 500 dollars for the additional privilege of chatting with McCullough before the lecture over wine and hors d’oeuvres served in the Richardson building.

“He was unbelievable,” says Brenda Reed, whose husband John helped the Lions Club raise money for the new library’s special equipment room for the visually impaired. “He made early American history sound like current events.”

Reed wasn’t the only one who was impressed. “It’s interesting to see dozens of city councilors and business people dropping their usual sense of status, and lining up to get their books signed,” says newspaper reporter Lane Lambert, who covered McCullough’s speech for the Patriot Ledger. “It was definitely a celebrity event.”


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