I often let my mind take me places just like this when I sat in my car, on sweltering November evenings stuck in L.A. traffic. I dreamt of a picturesque small town, the kind of small town that only exist on movie sets in Southern California. The quaintness of Main Street, the charm of a town square, distinctive architecture that tells a story of time long past. Friendly people, community, and as I wipe the beads of sweat from my forehead, the anticipation of the change of seasons. I vowed to find that idyllic small town, pack my bags and move my family as soon as I could.
It wasn’t long until I found Westfield, nestled along the shores of Lake Erie in New York’s Chautauqua County. An area steeped in history, tradition and a way of life vacant in many of our countries sprawling metropolitan cookie cutter communities.
I soon discovered one of the real jewels of this community, the Patterson Library. This was not your typical library, four block walls and a bunch of books, this library had character, a story.
I decided I would venture in to see if I could find information on my recently purchased home. As I approached the front steps I was struck by the grandeur of the statuesque white marble columns. They seemed to invite me in and signified the strength and fortitude of this building. I made my way quickly through the door and was met with vision of what I always thought a library should be – a gallery for the art of literature. Rich colors, texture and intricate detail help showcase not only the Patterson’s wealth of books, its collections of artisan furniture, original WWI posters, taxidermy birds, marionettes, 19th century paintings and seashells but the magnificent architectural elements.
Perhaps it was my starry eyed gaze that shouted out that this was my first time at the Patterson but I was soon warmly greeted by one of the Patterson’s librarians. She knew just who I was and that I had recently moved in right down the street. She offered to give me the tour of the facility and I quickly accepted. We started with the Main Reading room, overstuffed leather chairs, the grand piano and paintings of the Patterson family highlighted this room. The lower floor housed the octagon art gallery where local and regional artists show their work and an enchanting children’s library known as Patterson Park. We ended the tour in the Faith Crandall Scott Reference Room where I was able to find quite a bit of information on the origin of my newly acquired house.
I couldn’t end my visit without grabbing up all the information I could about everything the Patterson library has to offer. This included art shows, concerts, youth reading programs, Film Fares, literary lectures, reading groups and New Neighbor Night where new residents to Westfield are provided with a packet of information about their new town and village. They’re also given the opportunity to ask questions and meet their neighbors. I will be sure to attend.
The presence of the Patterson Library fortifies this community with a sense of history, academia and culture and is a true treasure, making life in Westfield a rich and satisfying experience.
Tony Pisicoli with his wife and young daughter moved to Westfield from Los Angeles in the spring of 2006 and have been quickly adopted by the community. In the spring of 2008 they opened Sapore, a restaurant, coffee and wine bar right here in Westfield.
Links: Patterson Library