James Prendergast Library

Tina Scott, Executive Director, and Eli Guinnee, System Director, hard at work at the James Prendergast Library.
Tina Scott, Executive Director, and Eli Guinnee, System Director, hard at work at the James Prendergast Library.

Article Contributed by
Katrina Fuller


Cozy chairs call longingly to entering patrons, inviting them to sit a spell. A wide, welcoming counter wraps around the lobby, surrounded with people dealing in murmured transactions. Rows upon rows of sky high shelves line the walls, filled with tomes of knowledge, fanciful tales and thrilling histories. A hushed excitement drifts softly through the air, as people delve into stories, facts and legends, escaping reality one page at a time. Folks bustle in to attend the latest classes and events, surf the web or check out movies. There is always something going on at the James Prendergast Library, from books and movies, to public events and Scrabble clubs.

“It’s always nice when the public comes in and likes what you are doing,” says Tina Scott, the Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library. “The community really supports the library.” The Library has been providing the community with access to information and adventure for more than 123 years, given as a gift in 1891 to the city by Alexander Prendergast. Holding a special place in Jamestown’s history and culture, the library has kept many of pieces of the original collection and more. “We have some old scrapbooks where librarians used to cut out articles and paste them,” she explains. “That’s a lot of history!”

Recently, the library has begun to develop more family programming. There are a plethora of groups and events, all geared towards creating a fun and inviting environment for all ages, such as Family Movie Nights, Puzzle Pals, Story Times and more. “You can bring your kid to do something nice,” Tina says of the wide range of engaging activities. “Last year, we started to focus more on the family as a unit.” There are also plans to make tablets available to parents and their children in the library, loaded with apps to entertain and educate. Taking strides to include all age groups, the library has also developed a Teenage Advisory Council, letting the youth have a voice. “I like bringing the teens in – they have a unique perspective.”

An upcoming renovation project promises to be a refreshing change, according to Tina. “We’ll be able to use existing space without having to add on…I’d like to use as much space as possible for the public.” The grant funded project is slated to begin in April, focusing on creating access to the second floor, expanding the children’s area, adding a family bathroom, and relocating restrooms for easier access. Plans are also in the works to update the freight elevator into a passenger elevator. “It’s just a great project – it really opens us up.”

The James Prendergast Library is located at 509 Cherry Street, Jamestown, NY. They are open from 9 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, and from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. For more information on classes, events or apps, give them a call at (716) 484-7135, or visit their website at http://www.prendergastlibrary.org. “We’ve always adapted to new formats…I think that’s how we can help people,” Tina says of her beloved organization. “The Library’s not what it used to be!

The Jamestown Gazette is proud to recognize our dealers, outstanding corporate citizens of our county. This week, the Gazette especially thanks James Prendergast Library for faithfully carrying The Jamestown Gazette, The People’s Paper, for the benefit and enjoyment of their customers, our readers.