Thursday, January 24, 2019

In Support of the Barker Public Library

As you’re all aware, the staff at Niagara’s Watercooler are all very into reading and visiting libraries. So, when we woke up to the awful news earlier this week about the fire at the Barker Public Library, we were genuinely shaken and concerned. We brainstormed about what we could do to help the library get back on its feet. There are a lot of different fundraisers going on, and sometimes it’s hard to wade through all of them to make sure any donation you send gets to the right place with the most impact.

According to the Barker Public Library themselves, the best way to make a donation is tosend a check directly to them. You can make a check out to Barker Public Library. Put “Rebuild BPL” in the memo line and send it to the following address:

Barker Public Library
PO Box 261
Barker, NY 14012

You can also send a check (with the same instructions) to NIOGA, who will direct the donations to the library:

Barker Public Library
6575 Wheeler Road
Lockport, NY 14094

Every bit will help, and by sending checks to the library in these ways, you ensure that 100% of your donation goes to the library. Niagara’s Watercooler will be making a donation to the library to help them rebuild their facility. In our opinion, libraries are the center of a community. It’s a place where anyone, regardless of their station in life, can have access to books and information. It’s where you can meet your neighbors, run into old friends, or even make new ones. Barker epitomizes that.

According to an article by Glen Hammond in the Niagara Gazette dated January 23, 1969, the birth of the Barker Public Library began on April 18, 1934, when 25 members of the community met to organize a public library for the village. While they were not successful in their first couple attempts, by October 1936, they were opening the Barker Public Library in a rented room on Main Street. “Less than an hour before the scheduled opening, a freight train chugged into the hamlet delivering two cartons, containing 150 books from Albany.”

By April 1937, the library had grown to 1,500 volumes and had grown out of the room on Main Street. The library moved from their small room into a larger space in the IOOF Hall on Quaker Road. The members of the library volunteered to make the renovations themselves. In March 1938, the Barker Free Library was incorporated under New York State Law.

In 1969, the library expanded once again when they moved into the old New York Central Railroad station. The move doubled their floor space. Contributions for this new space and renovations came from “as far away as Oregon, California and Florida, as well as from servicemen in Vietnam.”

The community built the Barker Public Library. It will be the community building it once again, this time with the assistance of many, many friends.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Niagara's Watercooler
Wendy Bacon
Craig Bacon
George N Root III
Howie Balaban
Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”

-Sidney Sheldon

Photos courtesy Niagara County Historians Office