Upham's Corner Online

Upham's Corner Library - Overview

Posted: March 13, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

A library is a vast encyclopedia of human thought and invention that stimulates us to think beyond our own limits.  A library is of fundamental importance to a democracy, to a nation that values freedom of speech and thought. 

The word "library" comes from the Latin "to peel", referring to the inner bark of a tree, the source of parchment. 
UC Library - Overview
UC Library - Importance
BPL Branches compared
UC Library - Close up
Other branches - photos

Indeed, it is words that influence the formation of the brain's images and structures which in turn help to clarify and define our thinking processes.  With the honing of our thought processes, we are able to compare and contrast, peeling away layers of assumptions, expectations and old habits. 

Asking questions and seeking new answers, we witness the birth of ideas, solutions and new ways of thinking.

To us in Upham's Corner, our library is a symbol of greatness to come.  It is with pride that we climb the stairs of the ancient building, turn left and enter the smallish rooms filled with so many books we could never finish reading.  The elderly, the curious, students, recovering alcoholics, young children, parents, consultants, computer users, teenagers in love - all of us find respite, adventure, hope, tears, laughter, empathy and education in a space that has no comparison in the shopping mall. 

Our library embodies the intelligence of human existence and invites us to share and explore, to continue a lifetime of learning, to help grow our nation.  "It takes an educated people to raise a nation."  

Our library is important to Upham's Corner.
The Cinderella archetype fairy tale has been around for well over 1000 years.  It contrasts the competing interests of power and goodness through the heartfelt journey of Cinderella from rags to nobility.  Be it known that Cinderella, while wanting to "go to the ball," did not complain.  She was constant in her gentleness.  And she did prevail.

We all want to believe that a kind-hearted spirit will appear to help and set "right" above "wrong."  We all want to believe that a sparkling glass slipper will captivate the heart of a powerful prince who will not stop until he finds its owner.

The Upham's Corner Library lost her dainty glass slipper back in 1904.  Waiting patiently and serving well the residents of Upham's Corner, she has been out-selected and out-bid and out-chosen by the Library Board.  Funds were allocated to other neighborhoods with "apparent" greater need.

But try as it may, no other neighborhood can fit the beautiful glass slipper in quite the same way as Upham's Corner.  Handsome Prince - We wait your arrival.  (Make it soon...)

The Upham's Corner Library is near and dear to the residents of Upham's Corner. 
  • Our library is the oldest and most ignored branch in the BPL system.
  • Our library is beloved by the residents of Upham's Corner.
To provide a perspective of where the Upham's Corner branch fits into the history of renovations and new construction, we prepared a detailed comparison of all branches based on data from two sources: 
  • The BPL website provides data on the construction history of the Boston Public Library branches.
  • Square footage of each branch was taken from the website of Paula Narenkivicius, William Raveis Real Estate. 
BPL Branches Compared

That old expression "You can't count your books until they are catalogued" is a wise caution in a time when hopes are high, construction is expensive and funding is being slashed.  Friends of the Upham's Corner Library have been working hard to build momentum behind an idea voiced only recently at a community meeting. 

"Why not put a library on the first floor?"  said Bob Haas. 

Ever since then, the breath of fresh air pouring into the rooms of thought have awakened the hopes and aspirations of residents of Upham's Corner who have been dreaming about a first-class library since before they were born.  Literally, generations have been climbing the stairs of the Upham's Corner Municipal Building "looking for" the library. 

Why looking?

Because you can't see it from the street.  And if what you are looking for isn't readily visible under the watchful eye of the residents, then you can never tell if it wasn't taken over and turned into something else overnight.  And that is only one of the fundamental problems with the Upham's Corner Library. 

The ever-committed, devoted and professional staff of the library have made exceptional use of the space available, but really!  There comes a time when we need to admit that the cons substantially outweigh the pros.  The municipal building works wonderfully for Bird Street Community Center, for voting, for the Upham's Corner Health Center, but for a library? 

A close-up of the Upham's Corner Library

A view of three other branches, just to notice the difference.
Let us turn now to the many topics and books available in our library for inspiration and assistance in accomplishing our goals:
  • Sorcery and witchcraft
  • Religion and spirituality
  • The power of prayer
  • Rational thinking in an irrational world
  • Construction engineering and LEED certification
  • How to win friends and influence people
  • Befriending trustees
  • The healing power of laughter
One brick at a time, one highly insulated panel at a time, one shelved book at a time and lastly, the whole town at the doorsteps of the new Upham's Corner Library cheering and shouting: "Thank you."


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