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Newton’s library features Mormon Battalion exhibit

September 13th, 2009 Posted in Arts and Life

By Kelly Greenwood

NEWTON — The Newton Town Library lies tucked away in Town Hall in what used to be a elementary school gymnasium. The town hall building was originally built as an elementary school in 1927 and was exchanged to the town for $7 in 1968, Library Director Sarah Rigby said. The Newton town office, justice courtroom and fire department are housed in the same building in former classrooms, she said.

Rigby has been the library director for 10 months and currently works with three other librarians. Rigby took over the library director position when the former library director, Cleo Griffin, retired. Griffin founded the library in 1999, Rigby said, and although she is retired, she has plans to re-organize the library’s special collections center.

“She knows it inside and out,” Rigby said.

The Special Collections section, a small aisle to the immediate right of the library entrance, houses an array of historic items and displays.

The library puts up a new display in the Special Collections section once or twice a year, Rigby said. The Herald Journal recently published a feature piece on the library’s current display on the Mormon Battalion, she said.

The Mormon Battalion display contains an assortment of memorabilia and historical descriptions. A uniform of a man who participated in a march in 1950 to commemorate the Battalion hangs within the display. There are hanging photos with stories of Battalion participants, as well as a drum, rifle and other memorabilia. A blanket stitched into a map of the United States is displayed with a depiction of the route of the Battalion. A flag with 28 stars is draped above the display.

A nearby display titled, “Early Recreation in Newton,” contains photos of past Newton sports teams, elementary school classes and Newton’s first orchestra and brass band, circa 1903. Another large glass display case contains photos and descriptions of buildings on Newton’s Main Street from 1871 to the early 1900s.

Photos of LDS Relief Societies from 1871-1900s, sunday school groups and church activities line a wall above a glass display case filled with large, colorful sea shells and rocks that were donated to the library by a family. Mormon, Utah and Newton history books line the shelves of the Special Collections section, and there are donated
dictionaries and books on display.

In addition to the Special Collections, the library contains a large children’s section, as well as fiction, non-fiction, Christian fiction, religion, history, science and American fiction sections. There are also recreation, social studies, political science, law,
education, music and art books, and there are DVDs and VHS tapes available for check-out.

The library, though small, attracts several patrons a day. Traffic is pretty consistent, Rigby said, estimating that about 20-30 children and 10-15 adults visit the library each day. Kids come after school to peruse books and come on Thursday mornings for storytime, she said.

The summer and fall reading programs are also popular with children, librarian Michelle Furgeson said. The opening for the fall reading program was recently held on Sept. 10, Furgeson said. Around Christmas time, Santa pays a visit to the library, and there are cookies and activities during story time, which the kids love, Furgeson said.

When asked what her favorite thing about the library is, Sarah Rigby hesitated– there are a lot of things she likes, she said. But the thing she likes most is the interaction with people and “finding books that they love to read,” she said.

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  1. One Response to “Newton’s library features Mormon Battalion exhibit”

  2. By Gweneth on Dec 21, 2009

    libraries…love looking for books, the smell the atmosphere, you described it so vividly. I usually go to libraries to write my research papers and I love sitting there studying although with new technologies it cannot be compared:)

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