Thomas Crane Public Library
The original building (1882), front view, architect H. H. Richardson
|Architect||Henry Hobson Richardson|
|Architectural style||Richardsonian Romanesque|
|NRHP reference No.||72000143|
|Added to NRHP||October 18, 1972|
|Designated NHL||December 23, 1987|
Wollaston Branch, Thomas Crane Public Library
The Wollaston Branch
|Location||41 Beale St., Quincy, Massachusetts|
|Area||0.2 acres (0.081 ha)|
|Architectural style||Classical Revival|
|NRHP reference No.||89001316|
|Added to NRHP||September 20, 1989|
The Thomas Crane Public Library (TCPL) is a city library in Quincy, Massachusetts. It is noted for its architecture. It was funded by the Crane family as a memorial to Thomas Crane, a wealthy stone contractor who got his start in the Quincy quarries. The Thomas Crane Library has the second largest municipal collection in Massachusetts after the Boston Public Library.
In fiscal year 2008, the city of Quincy spent 1.41% ($2,690,878) of its budget on the library—some $29 per person.
The Thomas Crane Public Library was built in four stages: the original building (1882) by architect H. H. Richardson; an additional ell with stack space and stained glass (1908) by William Martin Aiken in Richardson's style; a major expansion (1939) by architects Paul A. and Carroll Coletti, with stone carvings by sculptor Joseph A. Coletti of Quincy; and a recent addition (2001) by Boston architects Childs, Bertman, and Tseckares, which doubled the size of the library. H. H. Richardson considered this library among his most successful civic buildings, and Harper's Weekly called it "the best village library in the United States". The library was ranked 43rd in a national poll conducted in 2007 by the American Institute of Architects of the favorite buildings in the nation.
In addition to its architecture, the original building contains a 30 × 10 inch stained-glass window by noted American artist John LaFarge in memory of Thomas Crane, entitled the Old Philosopher. To the left of the elaborate carved fireplace is a second LaFarge window, "Angel at the Tomb", given in memory of Crane's son Benjamin Franklin Crane. The library's grounds were designed by landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted.
By 1910 there were two "reading rooms," one in the Atlantic neighborhood on Atlantic Street and one in West Quincy. By the 1920s the system had expanded to nine branches in all, adding ones near the Parker Elementary School and the Furnace Brook Parkway, and ones in the Squantum, South Quincy, Wollaston and Quincy Point neighborhoods. Municipal budget cutbacks in 1981 slashed the number to just three besides the main building: the Wollaston branch (1922), which is listed separately on the National Register of Historic Places, the North Quincy branch (1963) on Hancock Street near North Quincy High School, and the Adams Shore branch (1970) on Sea Street in Hough's Neck.
The library often hosts concerts, lectures and art exhibitions. There are also private rooms available for use free of charge to the public or to small community organizations. Also, the library hosts Quincy's local public-access television cable TV channel, QATV.
Thomas Crane Public Library provides services and resources that aid the disabled community. The Main Branch features handicap parking, elevators to all floors, as well as aisles and sit-down computer terminals that accommodate wheelchairs and those with disabilities. For those that are blind or visually impaired: the public use computers feature large print keyboards. Handheld magnifiers are available at the Reference Desk, and Braille books are available through interlibrary loan.
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