Whitin Social Library by Don Gosselin

    A magnificent structure still, especially with the interior wooden décor splendidly showing the craftsmanship of the finest woodworkers that the Whitin Families hired at the time, this library is a one-of-a-kind edifice especially in the Blackstone Valley, if not in the world. Edward Whitin and Arthur Fletcher Whitin, who gave $20,000 upon the time of his death, to the Library did so in 1917. But the Library was incorporated way before then, in 1844.

    As one enters and sets his gaze from floor to ceiling, one is impressed at the wonder of it all. Each member or resident of the Town of Northbridge can enjoy reading periodicals, using references, audio-visuals, or the computers. This library has so many things as well as programs to offer. There are places to visit if you sign up for a trip. My wife and I both enjoyed Mr. Paul Rogers of “The Gardeners’ Calendar” some time ago. One particular place that I love is the Historical Room upstairs. There are a lot of “memories” stored up there. And you must “sign in” to use it. I have spent countless hours going through the hard-bound copies of the Spindles and other documents. One thing that caught me by surprise was a hand-written note by E. Kent Swift urging the Whitin workers not to strike in 1946. Upon reading it, I shared his sentiments and became heartbroken also. I was overcome with emotion. I can recall all of the poetic works of Russell Bailey also, and isn’t that bench outside a lasting tribute to him ?

   Now, as I continue to write about the Whitins, I am most appreciative of the help that W. Christine McLaughlin, John Rauth, and Harold Gould and others on the Library’s Board of Trustees have given me so far. But we need an Archivist so badly. Another thing has been revealed to me. Why are there so many documents, papers, etc. kept in the Baker Memorial Library of the Harvard Business School ? Who is responsible for this ? Hasn’t The Whitin Legacy taken place here in Northbridge? Am I missing something here? There is a limit to the extent of my research as long as I am handcuffed. But I will “play with the cards” that I presently have as the Whitin Legacy continues to unfold. Yes, I am still a member of the Whitin Social Library But I just cannot help but wonder, what if all the residents of the Town used it ? Do you suppose that we’d have enough funds then to keep it open full-time ? See for yourself. Simply log on to www.northbridgemass.org/WSL/wslhome.htm

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