The Wellesley Free Library‘s main building, closed since last spring for a $2.8M overhaul, welcomed back a masked-up public on Saturday during a grand opening event put on by the Friends of the Wellesley Free Libraries. The fun featured music by members of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, butterfly-shaped shortbread cookies supplied by Wellesley’s own Quebrada Bakery, a ribbon cutting, big puppets, and children’s activities.
We were granted a sneak peek a month ago, but there was plenty new to see during the first real test of the official grand re-opening.
Kids took part in craft projects at the entrance as puppeteers helped human-sized butterflies flit about.
Inside, over 300 origami butterflies created by artists Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander of Origamido Studio hovered over visitors to the revamped children’s room.
We investigated the whole place, taking in the relocated fish tank in the spacious Commons room and catching music from Wellesley Symphony Orchestra players that wafted from the second floor to the rest of the library. Overall, the renovation has been beautifully done from the choice of jewel colors for the carpets and comfortable soft furnishings to the sight lines and traffic flow from the front of the building to the back.
— swellesley (@swellesley) November 7, 2021
As for additional improvements we’d like to see, we hope shadows will be chased away with additional lighting in the Children’s Room, where considerable effort has been focused on making the library friendlier to its youngest patrons. Also, we hope electrical outlets will be made available for the library carrels area on the second floor. We remember the days when we had to jockey for position to score one of the few carrels with outlets, so hope that won’t be the case going forward. Plus, the days of carrels with a view of the outdoors are over—some of the new meeting/conference rooms took over the coveted space that looks out over to Hunnewell School. At $25-$35 per hour to reserve, that view isn’t cheap. There are, however, many other spots in the library that afford lovely views, for those who simply must have them.
Overall, we’re excited that the town’s unofficial happy place is up and running again. Thanks to the Hills and Fells branches, as well as the Temporary Main Library in Wellesley Square for picking up the slack for the past 6-plus months.