The Patterson Library is a great community resource. A comprehensive collection of books, videos, magazines and reference materials complemented by outstanding local history resources, a forward-looking emphasis on technology and a full range of community programs for people of all ages – all housed in a beautiful building in the Beaux-Arts Classicist style. With everything the Library offers, it’s sometimes easy to overlook another great asset: the incredible natural history collection.
Amongst the Library’s other riches are impressive collections of birds, mammals and shells. The shell collection featured in the Library’s foyer has over 300 varieties, many of which were collected by Rev. Reuben Tinker while a missionary on the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii).
Over 100 bird specimens grace the Library. A golden eagle sits atop stacks in the mezzanine overlooking the rotunda. A collection of smaller birds can be found in the reading room. The birds are older than the Library itself.
Next time you’re at the Patterson, take a few minutes and wander around. The Library’s natural history collection is one of many measures of the timelessness of one of Westfield’s greatest assets.