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The Parker Hill Branch has extensive health, history, college/career, crafts and religion collections. Ethnic fiction and teen popular fiction are well used and there is a large, up-to-date children’s collection. There are Spanish books for adults and children.
The Parker Hill Branch houses the Streetfeet Archives. Streetfeet Women, a culturally diverse troupe of writers and performers, was organized and founded by Elena H. Dodd and Mary M. McCullough in 1982. These historic documents are displayed in a beautiful hand-made dark oak cabinet that blends with the furniture and Flemish oak of the building. Individuals are permitted to peruse through and research this collection.
RECURRING PROGRAMMING OFFERED
The Children's Room of the Parker Hill Branch offers many fun and exciting activities for children of all ages on a year-round basis. Weekly toddler and preschool story times are offered for families and daycares on the colorful story time rug. Every summer, there is a summer reading program for children and teens.
The Parker Hill Branch is teamed with the Maurice Tobin School and the Tobin Community Center as part of Mayor Menino’s Community Learning Initiative, a multi-department collaboration aimed at helping Boston’s youth reach their full potential by coordinating learning and recreation throughout the day.
A monthly book discussion for adults is a favorite. One-to-one computer training can be scheduled.
Annual open houses offer refreshments, music and crafts for adults and children.
SPECIAL PROGRAMMING OFFERED
A variety of special programs are held each year. With grants from Parker Hill/ Fenway Trust, Parker Hill Branch has provided a series of Mission Hill Music concerts and Mission Hill Art workshops. Programs are held in the lecture hall which is also available to groups who need space.
Children’s educational and entertaining programs are offered throughout the year.
ART SHOWS AND DISPLAYS
Artists can contact the library to display their works. The library collaborates with organizations and residents to provide a variety of art displays. Massachusetts College of Art is partnering with the library and other community organizations to create various art projects and displays.
Historic Maps of Mission Hill are displayed at times.
The front foyer has furniture that was donated by Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Drawings by 4th Graders Art Show
Summer Reading Club Display
The Branch first opened in a rented space at 1518 Tremont Street in July 1907. It remained in this location until May 1931 when Mayor James Michael Curley opened the new branch that was designed in 1929 by famed architect Ralph Adams Cram. Cram appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1926 and was heralded as Boston's foremost architect. He left a significant impact on the area having designed many buildings and churches including All Saint's Church in Brookline, the Japanese Garden Court at the Museum of Fine Arts, the John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse, and the Second Unitarian Church in Boston. He also designed the St. Thomas Church in New York City. Many have said that the Parker Hill Branch has a church-like feel to it - it is open and airy with many lovely details such as plaster rosettes on the ceiling. The branch is noted for its unique local history collection.
The outside of the building has the carved seal of Massachusetts on one side and the seal of the city of Boston on the other. Over the door is a carved seal of the Boston Public Library. Sunlight shines through the tiny window-panes on the heavy oak tables making the library a pleasant place to spend the afternoon. In July 2001 artwork by Jessica Finch was installed above the windows in the Children's Room. In the front yard Dolly’s Garden was planted in memory of Dolly DeSimone, who was children’s librarian at Parker Hill Branch for more than twenty years.