Cross’ Mills Public Library, Charlestown, Rhode Island

Cross Mills Public Library - Charlestown, Rhode Island
Cross’ Mills Public Library

Last week my book buddy Emily and I went to Charlestown, Rhode Island for a publisher’s event. It was an hour drive and, of course, we built time into our travel plans to check out the local library.

The Cross’ Mills Public Library building has a Y shape, which gives the building an inviting facade, almost like you’re being hugged. We arrived at the library just before closing time, which was 4 pm that day. The librarian locked the door seconds after we walked in. Emily had gone off in search of the restroom and I was browsing the used books for sale in the foyer. The librarian said we could stay for a few minutes while they closed down for the night, they just couldn’t let in any more patrons.

After entering through the small foyer, you’re greeted by the circulation desk. Plexiglass shields are still up and masks are recommended. Covid numbers have been ramping up again here in New England. To the left are restrooms and a stairway going down to the nonfiction section and public computers. The door to nonfiction was already closed for the night, so I didn’t venture downstairs.

From the circulation desk, to the right, are DVDs, audiobooks, and fiction. The lights are off, but as you can see, the library has an abundance of natural light. Walking toward the back of this room…

…you arrive at this tall table. This looks like a quiet study corner, but one where you can also see the comings and goings of patrons as the windows look out at the parking lot.

Turn around from looking at the tall table and you’re greeted by more plants! It was such a joy to see so many plants thriving in a library. The healthy plants and the big windows made me feel like the line between inside and outside were blurred.

Library selfie. That’s me on the left and Emily on the right.

Walking deeper toward the back of the library. Along the wall on the left side is the biography section. Notice the stairs toward the back of the photo. At that point, to the right is the periodicals room and to the left is the childrens section.

I was happy to see another grandfather clock, but forgot to ask the librarian if it chimes. The library I wrote about last month, the Moore Free Library in Newfane, VT, also had a lovely old grandfather clock.

The periodicals room. Work tables and plush seating.

The childrens section.

Standing in the childrens section looking back toward the front of the library. DVDs and audiobooks to the right and possibly children’s reference books to the left?

Going back down the stairs. That’s the periodicals section again to the left. Look out the window at that beautiful stone wall. I adore New England’s stone walls. If you’re curious about them, I highly recommend Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England’s Stone Walls by Robert M. Thorson. I waxed on and on (and on and on) about Thorson’s book in an early Book Cougars recording. I significantly edited my comments in postproduction and then called Emily to thank her for being such a trooper during the recording. We still occasionally laugh about that, but the book is SO GOOD I couldn’t stop myself from talking about it.

Another view of the biography section. Check out the wonderful owls on top!

Back at the front of the library. I love that curvy shelving. It brings to mind a wave, which is a wonderful aesthetic for a shoreline library.

Old sign at the library entrance. I read on their website that Cross’ Mills Public Library is public in name and function, but they’re a privately-held association that was established in 1913. This is such a lovely library and I’m glad I got to spend a few minutes inside. Thanks again to the librarians for letting us look around.

Cross’ Mills Public Library
4417 Old Post Rd
Charlestown, RI 

Check out more of my library posts here.


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