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Bellingham Library Celebrates Anniversaries with Photo Show

Sep 30, 2019 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
story & photo by Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer

The Bellingham library has a lot to celebrate. Not only are they participating in the town’s 300th anniversary festivities, but this year marks 125 years of service to the Bellingham community and 30 years in the Blackstone Street facility. To mark the occasion, the library held a community photo show on Saturday, September 21, with snacks, cake, and an acoustic concert with singer/songwriter Ric Allendorf.

To begin, Library Director Bernadette Rivard walked the crowd through a brief history. “One hundred and twenty-five years ago, on November 6, the voters of Bellingham elected six library trustees and appropriated all of twenty-five dollars to secure a gift from the state of one hundred dollars to get a set of books from the state. And that’s how the first library was started.”

According to the library webpage: “On December 4, 1894, Ms. Sara Tufts Rockwood became the first Librarian and Chairperson of the Board of Library Trustees. Lucinda Hammond, Sara’s sister, agreed to house the Library in her home in a room formerly occupied by the post office.” The home, on South Main Street, is still standing today, but with Sara Rockwood’s resignation in 1905, the library moved across the street.

“Over the years, the library moved to the Massey (Center) School,” Rivard continued. Then, in the 1920s, it cost $10,000 for the library to build a new building on Common Street, which now houses the Historical Museum. “On May 15, 1930, that building was dedicated, and the children’s room was opened in 1966. During this time there were branch locations throughout town. In 1977 they were closed for budgetary reasons, and the services were consolidated in the Common Street location.”

The Library’s first Director was hired shortly afterward, in 1979, and the library qualified for its first state aid grant of $5,422. By 1980, the library had outgrown the space, and a committee was formed to investigate alternatives. At a special town meeting in August of 1987, voters endorsed the building of the Blackstone Street building.
“It was dedicated 30 years ago on September 24, 1989,” Rivard finished. “Today we’re celebrating that anniversary.” She went on to say that over the last 5 years the library has renovated most of the public spaces of the building, added a dedicated teen room, updated the carpeting and furnishings, and created a conference room and café space for patrons to enjoy food and drinks while they’re in the building. The renovated history room was dedicated that evening, thanks to funding from Middlesex Savings Bank and the Friends of the Bellingham Library, facilitated by Friends Treasurer Dina Pierce.

Rivard acknowledged the judges of the evening’s photo competition: Amanda Leeland, Jim Justice, and Kathy Wotton, who had picked winners in three categories. Forty-five photos had been submitted, and the winners were as follows:

Town events:

1st place: “Wall that Heals” taken on Blackstone street by Richard Marcoux.
2nd place: “Sacrifice” taken on Blackstone Street by Chloe Enright
3rd place: “Silver Lake Fireworks 4th of July” taken by Craig Bartelloni

Black & White:

1st place: “In Flight” taken at the Fourth Generation Nursery on the Bellingham/Mendon line by Stephanie A. Marcott
2nd place: “The Mill” taken off Hartford Avenue behind Stall Brook by Jillian Bouchard
3rd place: “Peeper” taken on North Main Street by Christopher Juliano

Architecture & Landmarks:

1st place: “Path by the River” taken at the Charles River Train at the High Street complex by Stephanie A. Marcott
2nd place: “You Lookin’ At Me?” taken on Highridge Road by Jennifer M. Russo
Tie for third place:
“Bee Will Come” taken at Wenger’s Farm on South Main Street by Stephanie A. Marcott
“Baby Geese” taken at Lake Hiawatha by Yolande Deryck.

Best in Show

The Best-in-Show photograph was chosen by Ric Allendorf, the evening’s acoustic guitarist and professor of illustration at Mass College of Art, and the winner was “Path by the River” by Stephanie Marcott.

People’s Choice

The People's Choice photograph was chosen by the attendees' majority vote, and was given to “Baby Geese” by Yolande Deryck.

Including raffle proceeds, the event made over $1200 for the Friends of the Bellingham library, who provide money for programming, equipment, and materials for the library, including the popular museum-pass program.






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