The reimagined Fells Branch library is about to take its final leap from fantasy into reality with a Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, November 17, 10am – 2pm, at the new space’s 508 Weston Road location. The branch, located in Wellesley’s oldest public building, was built in 1858 as a one-room school house for 30 students and teacher Caroline Almeda Hartwell. Students were educated there for 65 years until Hardy School opened in 1922.
It’s always been about education
From there the building, now no stranger to being repurposed, opened in 1923 as a library, with the fundraising help of the Fells Improvement Society. This time around, the building’s help came from the Wellesley Free Library Foundation; grants from the Fund for Wellesley; grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and private donors. These groups and individuals kicked in the approximately $80k it took to create a space geared toward children 0 – 6 and their caretakers. This increased focus on a young clientele came about as a result of the library’s usage statistics. “All the programs for the young children were off the charts, such as Book Babies,” WFL Assistant Director Elise MacLennan said. “We wanted to make it even more welcoming for caretakers and parents. That’s the age group the books are geared toward. It’s not the place to look for books for older kids, but the older siblings are most definitely welcome, of course.”
In addition to books and materials for young children, there are best sellers and other popular adult books, and any holds can be sent to Fells for pickup.
Heck yes, I want to come by
When MacLennan offered me the chance to take a sneak peek at the library, I jumped at the chance. Here’s are some pics of the colorful, child-centered space:
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Closed Sunday and Monday