A Trip Down Memory Lane

Jeanette when she was still using the Childrens Entrance to the Library

Jeanette when she was still using the Children's Entrance to the Library

A trip down Memory Lane for me will always lead past the Library. When I was young I lived in a house behind the Boys Club, right around the corner from the Main Branch of the Waltham Public Library, my Mom use to bring me in at least once a week. When I was able to print my name, I got my very own card. I’ve loved libraries pretty much my whole life. Back then children had their own entrance from Exchange St, where the Waltham Room is now. I felt special having “my own” entrance to a world where I could live out the adventures found in books.

What does Lectvre mean?
There was a sign over one entrance that said Lectvre Hall, when I could read BIG words I wondered what it meant. I soon found out that the letter V is how the letter U was represented back in the old days. Back when I was using the Children’s Entrance books, magazines and reference materials were the only things available at the library. Boy has that changed, today you can find most anything you want inside; besides books there are movies, music, computers and more.

Scary Librarians
The Waltham Public Library was renovated in 1994 increasing the library’s space, before then the check out counter was at the Main Street entrance, on the first floor. (I think there was also a check out desk in the Childrens Room.) The librarian at the Main Street entrance, used to sit at an elevated desk, and would hand stamp each book being checked out. As a child it seemed as though the Librarian was a “Scary Creature” sitting high above me scowling down. We would get shushed… if we talked too loudly, which would make us giggle causing a vicious circle when we got shushed again for giggling.

Paper Card Catalogs
I grew up way before computers, the card catalog use to be on index cards filed in long skinny drawers which ran the length of the main lobby, where the main check out desk is now.

Old time Neighborhood Libraries
Today, everyone wishes there was more parking available at the library, when I was growning up, the present day parking lot used to be part of a fenced in grassy area that kids would use as an unofficial playground. There weren’t as many vehicles on the road back then, and people could walk to their neighborhood library.

I can remember when Waltham had three library branches. When I got older, I use walk to the South Branch on Chestnut Street, the South Branch was moved to a new building, beside the tennis courts off of High St, around the time I started working for a living. Around the same time there was a North Branch on Lexington St near JFK Junior High School.
I am fortunate to be able to work in a place that I have loved for most of my life and I hope to be able to do that for a very long time.

Posted by Jeanette

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