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Richmond Memorial Library

November 9, 2015 - 11:06am


If you haven't heard yet, coloring books are now a thing. OK, sure, we all had coloring books as kids, but now that we're all grown up, we're finding coloring books again, but not the "see spot run" type of coloring books, the pirate-on-the-ship coloring book that 3-year-olds scribble on, but books with pages of complex designs, fine lines and thin strips of blanks awaiting our choices of ruby, ginger or burgundy.

Adult coloring books are the hottest item at Karen's Yarn, Paper, Scissors, said owner Karen Crittenden. Her Saturday morning coloring sessions are popular enough that reservations are required and she's added a monthly evening session. This Saturday, more people than anticipated turned out for a coloring group at the Richmond Memorial Library.

"I find it very soothing to take a thing that is just black and white and turn it into something that is beautifully colored," said Lynn Bartlett Taylor during Saturday's event at the library. "Even though I'm not an artist, it makes me feel like I am in my own way."

Read articles or talk to participants and the common themes of why adults color in coloring books are it's meditative and it's a stress reliever.

In a recent article for Parade Magazine, psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston, said one reason adults find coloring so relaxing is it engages the entire brain. It's impossible to multitask or worry about kids or money when both sides of your brain are absorbed in coloring between the lines. 

“It’s impossible to worry about dinner or the laundry or anything else when your mind is completely engaged,” Domar explains. “With knitting or other crafts, you can watch TV or multitask, but coloring really requires you to be in the moment. And that makes it meditative.”

She suggests coloring to patients who need stress relief, particularly those who loved the activity as a child.

“Coloring brings you back to a simpler time. It’s pleasurable. It’s a chance to sit and be mindful -- and at the end you get this beautiful result. You have a real sense of accomplishment.”

Taylor said she gets totally absorbed in the pictures she's creating.

"It's very meditative," said Taylor, who started coloring with her grandchildren in 2004, then stopped for awhile, then came back to it after hand surgery as a form of physical therapy.

"I can't make pictures of my own but I can fill in the colors for somebody else and everyone turns out different and I can't see the picture when I start out, but as I add the color, it starts coming alive. It's like each picture has its own personality."

For somebody just getting into adult coloring, Crittenden said they have a lot of options, from whether they want to start with complex designs, what themes to choose (mandalas are popular, but there is a host of other subjects available from birds and flowers to fanciful landscapes and seascapes), the medium to use (pencils, markers, crayons) and whether the colorist has enough skill and experience to handle more artistic expressions such as gradients and shading.

"The biggest thing I don't want them to do is get frustrated," Crittenden said. "They'll look online. They'll look in the stores. They'll look at the picture books and say, 'I want to do that,' and a lot of those techniques out there take some time and practice and some skill."

New colorists can also get started cheaply, if they like, or make a pricier splash, depending on their budget.

"There are $4 coloring books and you can get a set of pencils for $7," Crittenden said. "It's not expensive to get into, but you can go upwards. I mean some of these coloring books, like this one, it's an actual book. That's $25, and you can go on up from there."

Part of the thing of color is it works both as a solo pursuit and as a social activity. Across the country, adults get together in small groups on a regular basis to color together. There are Facebook and Pinterest groups dedicated to adult coloring. Colorists loving sharing their work.

But seeing all of this public activity it would be tempting to think adult coloring is just a woman thing, but that's not the case at all, Crittenden said.

"I'm finding that a lot of men are doing it, too," Crittenden said. "The last time we had a set of insect coloring books in, they went out of here fast. A lot of women were buying them for their men. A lot of men color with their wives. They're like secret colorers. A lot of times on Facebook women will post and say 'this one belongs to my husband,' or 'my husband did this one.' The wives are posting about them. It's probably just that more women are open about coloring."

After all, men have stress, too.

Crittenden herself using coloring to relax her mind.

"I have the skill to draw this, but drawing this takes too much of my concentration," Crittenden said pointing to a design in a book. "If I'm coloring this, I'm coloring it at the end of the day. My coloring books are up by my bed with my pencil tin. When I do this, I'm doing this at bedtime. For me, it gets my brain to stop, because I have a brain that doesn't stop.

"It's going like all the time and if I don't stop it at bedtime, I can't sleep because my brain keeps going and going and going and going and going. Ideas just keep flying into my head. If I don't stop, it just keeps going and this helps my brain stop working enough so I can fall asleep."











September 28, 2015 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia.


It's amazing what a bit of new carpet can do to freshen up a room, especially when what you're replacing is 20 years old and been trod upon by hundreds of thousands of feet, but the interior of the Richmond Memorial Library has a whole new feel to it after being close for two weeks for some renovations, including new carpet. 

Workers covered 26,000 square feet of floor space in that span of time.

“This is part of the massive capital improvement campaign that was approved by Batavia City School District voters in 2013,” said Library Director Bob Conrad (pictured). “When I started here in July 2014, the roof was already being replaced. Two ADA-compliant parking spaces and a new driveway were added this summer. We appreciate the public’s patience as those improvements were made.

There’s a lot more to come, like energy-efficient windows and a drive-up book return, but the library will be open through the remainder of the renovation. Just for the carpet, we had to close, because we had to move pretty much everything in sight.”

Moving everything in the library was not a simple undertaking.

“School district crews had to move all of the shelves and desks and furniture to one side of the library so the old carpet could be stripped," he said. "Then as soon as the new carpet was down, they had to put everything back. And then, back and forth again, to do the other side. This was going on upstairs and downstairs simultaneously.

"But before school crews could move anything, library staff and volunteers had to move all of the music and movies and most of the books. We had them in piles and in rows in all of the uncarpeted rooms. It was hectic at times but I’m pretty sure we got everything back in order."

Next on the agenda for the library is expanding media and youth services.

“We’ve budgeted to get some additional shelving to expand the Media collection," Conrad said. "It’s a full 30 percent of our materials circulation, but it does not command a 30-percent share of our floor space. You have to take a merchandising approach to what the community is using and let popular collections grow.

"And we’re looking at ways to bring console video games into the library, in a limited way at first. The people who ask us for video games are not who you probably imagine, kids and teens and such. They are adults in their 40s and 50s. We seem to be overdue for their inclusion.”

Conrad reminded parents that the library is still a great place for after-school study help. Children under 10 must be accompied by a parent or supervising adult.

“We have a certified teacher in the library every day after school – she’s there for crowd control as much as for homework help, that’s just how busy we are," Conrad said. "And we have an expanded Youth Services team in place, led by our new Youth Services Librarian, Andrea Fetterly. Andrea was our Teen Librarian until very recently.

"When we had two Children’s librarians resign in rapid succession, I asked Andrea, who has a degree in Child and Adolescent Development and years of supervisory experience, to schedule herself in the Children’s Room and supervise the team of Library Associates I assembled to get us through the Summer Reading Program. That left the Teen Corner unstaffed for some of the summer, but Children's Services are the higher priority.

"Now, it’s counter-intuitive, but putting Andrea in charge of both areas actually allowed us to bring on more hands to cover both service points, at no extra cost. We were able to double the number of Library Associates on staff by provisionally appointing Katie Elia to a full-time position at our board meeting last week. She’s been with us for nine years on a part-time basis, and has her background in Psychology and Social Services to families and children.

"She joins Kelly March, who’s been with us nearly as long and is formerly the director of the Corfu Free Llibrary. Finally, we retain two part-time recruits, one of whom is a library graduate school student at the University of Buffalo – a future Children’s Librarian in the making. The goal is to expand on Teen and Children's programming, and to keep that Teen Corner more consistently staffed after school and in the summer.”

After-school programs will include craft projects, supervised computer gaming, Lego Club, Coder Club, Chess Club, and pick-up matches of collectible trading card games like Yugioh and Magic: The Gathering.

“But nothing’s on the calendar yet!” Conrad said. “We went right from Summer Read to being closed for renovations, and the staff appointments weren’t finalized until last week. Believe me though, there will be plenty of opportunities for kids to spill glitter on the new carpet -- we're here every day.”

August 5, 2015 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in comics, Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, entertainment.


Comics have been a hobby, a career and now an ambition for Batavia resident Dan Hosek.

The Long Island native is a former Marvel Comics editor who came to Western New York when his wife started school at SUNY Brockport. He happened to work for a graphics company at the time that had an office in Buffalo. They settled in Batavia, and now Hosek is a free-lance graphic designer.

But he still has a passion for the comic book business, and love that goes back to his childhood and a passion that survived a rocky bankruptcy reorganization by Marvel in the 1990s.

Hosek shared some of his expertise in comic book creation, marketing and distribution with a room of like-minded people at the Richmond Memorial Library on Tuesday night.

His advice: If you want to get published, work at it. Be prepared for long hours and don't be afraid to self-publish -- that can be a road success.

It's certainly a road he and his partners Keith Koppenhoefer and Ryan Gutierrez hope helps propel their series, File 13, to a bigger audience.

The trio hatched the idea for the series a few years ago -- based primarily on a character developed by Hosek when he was 12 years old. A year ago, they raised enough money through a Kickstarter campaign to get the first edition printed.  

Without a distributor, however, it's been a lot of work getting the comic book onto store shelves, but they have been making headway and sales.

"The micro-distribution route, that can be a full-time job in itself," Hosek said. "Calling comic shops, visiting comic shops, sending e-mails, and the whole follow-up is a lot of work, but we're getting there. It's growing. We're hoping the numbers get high enough that we can go back to Diamond (the only comic book distributor in the nation) and say 'we've sold this many,' and hopefully they'll look at the numbers and look at what we're doing and decide to distribute it."

The story is about two twin brothers who inherited a company and they have opposing views on the value of science. One brother believes science should only be used for the greater good, while the other believes science should be used in the service of the bottom line of the company they own. One brother is fired from the company, and he steals battle armor developed by the company. This leads to a whole universe of super heros who return to Earth after not being around since the 1980s.

While being both one of the creators and part of the whole marketing and distribution effort is a lot of work, the reception File 13 has received has been worth it, Hosek said.

"When you hold that finished comic book in your hands or somebody tells you how much they enjoyed it, it's a reward, so part of the drive comes from that, hearing from other people that they liked it and that you're producing something other people enjoyed," Hosek said.

You can find out more about the comic book series at, like the series on Facebook, or purchase editions at Foxprowl Collectables on Ellicott Street, Batavia.








August 4, 2015 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, libraries.

If county funding of the local library system had kept pace with inflation, the Legislature would be looking at a budget expenditure of about $80,000 annually, instead of the $45,000 used to help support the service this year.

With that in mind, Robert Conrad, director of the Richmond Memorial Library, made the case to the Human Service Committee on Monday that in the upcoming budget, the Legislature should consider a modest increase in funding of about $4,500.

Chairman Frank Ferrando indicated he thought that was a reasonable request.

"I can't speak for the entire Legislature, but for myself absolutely, I think it's really important that we have good, updated libraries available for our citizens with all the modern technology we now have available to garner information," Ferrando said.

He's interested in hearing what other members of the Legislature have to say about it.

"We're probably going to have some interesting discussion come budget time, but they're asking for $4,500 above last time, which would be the total up to around $50,000, which is still less than $1 per citizen in the county," Ferrando said.

The county funding for the library system flows through the Richmond Memorial Library and Conrad said a few years ago the county provided the library with a little more than $63,000.

While based in Batavia, the Richmond serves the entire county, especially those towns and villages in the county, such as Elba, Alexander, Bethany and Darien, without their own libraries.

Primary funding for Richmond comes from its own district, which is contiguous with the Batavia City Schools' district.

"About one-third of our cardholders live outside of the district," Conrad said. "The same is true for the other libraries in the county. We're the defacto public library of the county because we have the most available in our local history collection. We receive the grant for homebound services for senior citizens throughout the county, along with other services we provide to the entire county."

The local library service area is unique, Conrad said, in that it ensures even those people who live outside of the district receive library services. That isn't always true in other parts of the nation. For example, in Chicago, where Conrad worked for many years, citizens who didn't live in a library district received no library services.

Conrad is optimistic the funding request will be approved.

He characterized the reception he received from the committee as warm, with a discussion full of penetrating questions.

"I think the legislators generally look favorably upon libraries," he said.

June 8, 2015 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia.


Leslie DeLooze, Community Services Librarian

Now you can carry a whole library of magazine titles in your hand, wherever you or wherever you go, for free.

In a program set up for the Richmond Memorial Library by the Nioga Library System and the digital magazine clearinghouse Zinio, your library card gives you free digital access to all 65 magazine titles in the reading room of the library.

You just don't have to go to the reading room at library to read the magazines.

You can read your favorite magazines from the collection on your desktop or through the Zinio app on your mobile device.

Zinio also offers paid subscriptions to hundreds of other titles.

To sign up, go to Click on the Zinio logo at the bottom of the page and click "create account" in the upper right and complete the registration. Then go to and complete the registration there. After you download the app (if you haven't already), all you need to do is log in. You need your library member number at the time of registration.

Here's a list of titles available for free to library members:

100 Best Cookies
100 Decorating Ideas
30 Minute Dinners
The Atlantic
Better Homes & Gardens
Billboard Magazine
Car & Driver
Container Gardening
Country Living
Digital Camera World
Do It Yourself
Easy Meals
Eating Light
Eating Well
Essential Slowcooker
Everyday with Rachel Ray
Family Fun
Family Handyman
Food Network Magazine
Good Housekeeping
Handcrafted Jewelry
Health & Fitness-Tone Up in 10 Minutes
Health & Fitness Woman’s Guide to Running
Hockey News
House Beautiful
Interweave Crochet
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Kitchen & Bath Scene
Knit Scene


Ladies’ Home Journal
Marie Claire
Martha Stewart Living
Men’s Health
Mother Earth News
Mother Jones
National Geographic
National Geographic Traveler
O: Oprah Magazine
OK Magazine
Old House Journal
PC World
Popular Photography
Popular Science
Quilter’s Companion
Reader’s Digest
Rolling Stone
Runner’s World
Scholastic Parent & Child
Slow Cooker
Taste of Home
Taste of Home Holiday
US Weekly
Vanity Fair
Vegetarian Times
Weight Watchers
Woman’s Day
Wood Magazine

May 6, 2015 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia.

A total of 285 votes turned out for Tuesday's Richmond Memorial Library budget vote, passing the spending plan by a wide margin.

In all, 246 yes votes were recorded.

The budget increases spending by $25,870.

The lone candidate for a trustee's position, Michael Rivers, was elected with 266 votes.

Residents in the Batavia City School District are eligible to vote. There are 10,532 registered voters in the district.

May 6, 2015 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.


Alec R. Sass, a sophomore at Clarence High School, performed a 45-minute bagpipe show at the Richmond Memorial Library last night. In all, 50 people attended the performance, which included the songs "Scots Wha Hae and "Amazing Grace."

Photos submitted by Craig Gillard.



October 9, 2014 - 7:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library, batavia chess club.

The Batavia Chess Club has attracted 45 members since Kevin Larsen started it about a year ago, but onyl a handful show up any given night of matches, Larson said.

The club meets at the Richmond Memorial Library every Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and new members are always welcome. They'll even teach you how to play chess if you don't know how.

Larsen (on the right, second photo) funded the game boards and time clocks out of his own pocket. There are  no dues for membership in the club.

For more about the club, visit

Previously: Batavia man and library present 'Batavia Community Chess Club'

August 13, 2014 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library, art.

Local, award-winning artists Terry Webber and Bernice Yunkers have a joint exhibit at the Richmond Memorial Library now through the end of August.

August 13, 2014 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.

Richmond Memorial Library patrons and supporters got a chance to meet new director Bob Conrad during a reception Tuesday.

Conrad is originally from Rochester, a 1992 graduate of Eastridge High School. He lived for 22 years in the Chicago area where he earned an undergraduate degree in Radio, TV and Film and a graduate degree in Library and Information Science.

He worked for 10 years in the Chicago library system before he decided he wanted to take his career to the next level. He started looking for jobs in New York and California and when he found the opening in Batavia he said it was "a perfect fit."

As a new director, he's not coming in looking to make a lot of changes. We have something good here in a library, he said, and he wants to keep it that way.

"I want the best library that this community can support and the best library that can support the community," Conrad said, adding, "Right now, I'm just learning the job. I'm delighted that the staff all seem to know what they're doing and that the community really treasures the institution, so my first job is not (to) break it."

Conrad is buying a home in Batavia, but in the meantime, he's staying with family in the Rochester area.

He's very familiar with WNY. His family took annual trips to Letchworth and Watkins Glen and he worked at Seabreeze in high school. But when Conrad started spreading the news that he was taking a job in Batavia, it prompted a little geography lesson for those around him in Illinois. They are far more familiar with another Batavia (their very own).

"I did have to disambiguate to all of my colleagues when telling them where I was going to be library director," Conrad said.

August 9, 2014 - 9:59am
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, health insurance.
Event Date and Time: 
August 30, 2014 -
1:00pm to 3:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia presents “Get Covered Now!”, a free presentation on August 30th, 2014 from 1:00-3:00 PM on how to enroll in affordable health care.  Presenter Linya Lewis is a Navigator certified by New York State who is capable of offering information and enrolling people.  For more information, or to set up an appointment with Linya Lewis, contact her at (585) 343-5450.

July 10, 2014 - 11:07am
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, libraries, book discussion.
Event Date and Time: 
July 28, 2014 -
7:00pm to 8:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia presents Mystery Readers’ Mondays Book Discussion on Monday, July 28 at 7:00 p.m.  Read and be ready to discuss “Tilt a Whirl” by Chris Grabenstein.  Copies of the book are available at the front desk.  More information is available in the library and at

June 23, 2014 - 4:04pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, classes, libraries, knitting.
Event Date and Time: 
July 15, 2014 -
6:00pm to 7:30pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia presents “Knit the Fibonacci Sequence,” a class for adults on Tuesday, July 15 at 6:00 p.m.  Linda Daviau will lead this “stash buster” class for knitters who know how to knit and purl.  Learn some applications of the “golden ratio” found in nature, art & architecture to make a scarf.  Registration begins June 30.  Please bring size 8 or 9 needles and two colors of worsted weight yarn. More information is available in the library and at

June 4, 2014 - 11:19am
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, weather, libraries, talks.
Event Date and Time: 
July 7, 2014 -
7:00pm to 8:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia presents “What’s with the Weather?,” a talk for adults on Monday, July 7 at 7:00 p.m.  Jon Hitchcock, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, will talk about weather patterns in Western New York that bring the more interesting weather to our region.  Registration is not required for this free program. More information is available in the library and at

May 31, 2014 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, Richmond Memorial Library.

Children who came to the Richmond Memorial Library this morning had a chance to be entertained by and learn about improvisational acting.

Karen L. Eichler and Andrew M. Spragge, of Defiant Monkey Improv, told the children (and parents) about improv and performed skits. 

Above, Eichler, playing Billie Bob Horton, squirts a security guard for Billy Bob Thornton with a water pistol while trying to gain access to the actor's mansion. The scenario and scenes were suggested by the audience.

In the final skit, Eichler and Spragge were assisted by Jean Berry and Gina Bergman. Eichler and Spragge couldn't move their bodies on their own. Berry and Bergman had to manipulate their hands, arms, legs and heads appropriate to the dialogue, or at times initiating movements that drove the dialogue. In this scene Eichler is Spock and Spragge is Capt. Kirk and they've just encountered a one-eyed monster that apparently communicates through clicks.

May 30, 2014 - 10:19am
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, scrapbooking, craft classes.
Event Date and Time: 
July 2, 2014 -
6:30pm to 8:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia presents “Library Pocket Album,” a class for adults taught by Jenn Cascell on Wednesday, July 2 at 6:30 p.m.  Learn how to use lots of summery papers to create this mini album.  Registration is required, and $3.00 for materials is due at the time of registration.  More information is available in the library and at

May 29, 2014 - 11:13am
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, books, reading, summer book club.
Event Date and Time: 
June 23, 2014 -
9:00am to 9:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia is presenting “Fizz, Boom, READ!,” a Summer Reading Club for Adults from June 23 through Aug. 8. Participants are encouraged to read through the summer, and a small gift is awarded for finishing six books.

In addition, participants receive entry forms for a chance to win some theme-related grand prizes, including laboratory beaker mugs and gift certificates to the library’s café, kitchen science kits, and gift cards.

May 29, 2014 - 11:09am
posted by Leslie DeLooze in Richmond Memorial Library, classes, crafts.
Event Date and Time: 
June 25, 2014 -
5:30pm to 7:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia presents “Sun-Dye Tote Bag,” a craft class for adults taught by Jen Reardon, on Wednesday, June 25 at 5:30 p.m. Learn how to use a new product which uses a chemical reaction when exposed to sunshine to create a colorful, fabric tote bag. $8.00 for supplies is due at the time of registration. More information is available in the library and at

May 6, 2014 - 10:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library.

Voters today approved the Richmond Memorial Library budget by a vote of 238 to 42.

Norm Argulsky was elected to the Library Board of Trustees with 265 votes.

April 30, 2014 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library, Mary Elizabeth Wood.

Unless you're a serious local history buff, the name Miss Mary Elizabeth Wood may be unfamiliar.

In China, however, especially among those who appreciate the country's public library system, Miss Wood is revered.

Her fame has brought a Chinese film crew to Batavia this week as part of their effort to create a documentary chronicling the life of the "Queen of Modern Libraries in China."

Born in Elba in 1861, Wood became the first librarian of the Richmond Memorial Library in 1889, a position she held for 10 years. The only daughter of Edward Farmer Wood and Mary Jane (Humphrey) Wood, who had seven boys, Miss Wood took a trip to China to visit her youngest brother Robert in 1899.

On that trip, she learned there was no public education system and residents had little access to all the wisdom contained in the world's books, even ones in their own language.

Wood decided to stay in Wuchang, where she eventually made 3,000 books available for borrowing at the building known as the Octagonal Pavilion.

Soon, she traveled back to the U.S. for a year of study, her first actual courses in library science, having gotten as far as she did before then on her strength as "a great reader."

While on the trip, she raised funds and secured book donations that enabled her to open in 1910 the Boone Library in Wuchang.

By the 1920s, Wood was lobbying Congress for funds to advance library science in China and through the grants received and with the help of two of her Chinese prodigies, Wood established the first school for library science in China.

Following her death of an illness in China in 1931, her body was returned to Batavia and she is buried in the Batavia Cemetery.

These pictures were taken while the film crew prepared to interview Kathy Facer, Richmond's reference and technology librarian.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on Mary Elizabeth Wood, which contains greater detail on her life and work.

Cheng Huanwen, professor and university librarian, School of Information Management, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.




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