Riding the Rails to the BPL – by Margot Sullivan

Margot Sullivan is a reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin this week.

I am frequently amazed at the reluctance of some people to take the commuter rail train into Boston. It is so easy and provides a quick (about 22 minutes) ride into Back Bay or South Station. The upcoming stations are loudly announced so you won’t get off at the wrong stop (one excuse or fear I have heard). I suppose you would if you fell asleep!

I love looking at the people on the trains and being a librarian I am checking what they are reading or doing! My most recent trip included two magazine readers, several real book readers, computer users, a kindle reader, a knitter, and me!

Young kids are great on trains and ask wonderful questions! A young boy was intrigued by the screeching of the brakes as the train pulled into each station. ”What is that?” he inquired. His father replied “those are the air brakes”. From then on every time the train stopped the little boy asked “How come I keep hearing the air brakes?” I loved the conversation between a mother and her young son. He constantly asked “Is this our station?” as each station was named. His mother patiently said no we have several more to go. When the conductor announced “Readville Station, Readville Station” the little boy said “Mom is that where all the people go to read?” I kid you not!

I will admit I am totally annoyed listening to cell phone conversations on the train about just anything – shopping, mental health, gossip, and whatever. Everything under the sun is discussed often in a loud voice. Isn’t it ironic we are so concerned about privacy issues but so many could care less what the world hears while on their cell phones!

I get off at Back Bay. What a wonderful area of Boston to walk around in. A few blocks up Boylston Street and you are in the public gardens and during the summer I just sit on a bench and watch the swan boats – a Boston institution. People watching also goes with the territory! Trinity Church and the Old South Church welcome you to just come and rest and contemplate. Newbury Street is bustling with shops and some art galleries where I usually find some paintings of Maine!

My target is always the Boston Public Library. I worked there many years ago and have great memories of the pre-computer/network/internet days when the huge card catalog was the source for locating books in the collection and reference departments housed many reference materials. The original McKim building is magnificent – a real Boston treasure.

The building itself has been cleaned and the murals cleaned and restored. The courtyard is a cool oasis. The Map Room Café has luncheon items and beverages. The attached Johnson building opened in 1972 and houses most of the circulating materials and a lot of computers for public use.

I sat for several hours reading a novel I was finishing for our summer Beach Reads session here at the Norwood library. Both buildings had interesting exhibits commemorating the 150 anniversary of the Civil War. I especially liked the Winslow Homer prints in the Wiggin Gallery. Homer did the prints for illustrated weeklies and they show rural life, the brutality of the Civil War, pastimes, and women’s roles all during the time period 1858-1873. The exhibits are still on display this summer!

Treat yourself to a day in Boston! It’s easy! It’s affordable! It’s fun!

This entry was posted in From the Library - A Weekly Column, Readers Page. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.