Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Richmond Memorial Library

January 4, 2023 - 2:44pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, news, arts, batavia.


Press release:

Join the Richmond Memorial Library on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. for an intriguing virtual program from art historian Mallory Mortillaro. Watch from home on Zoom or screen the virtual program in person at the library!

While cataloging the artwork housed inside of the Hartley Dodge Memorial, Mallory uncovered a masterpiece that had been lost to the art world since the 1930s.  After a year of research, the piece was authenticated as an official work by Auguste Rodin. Mallory will share the story of how a simple art cataloging project evolved into a search for a mysterious piece’s provenance and became one of the biggest art finds in recent history.

To watch from home on Zoom, visit batavialibrary.org/calendar. You must be registered to receive the Zoom link. To watch in person at the library, visit the circulation desk or call 585-343-9550.

Mallory Mortillaro is an art historian and educator.  She has ten years of teaching experience, and has worked on various art research projects for museums and organizations in the New York metropolitan area.  She studied at Drew University.  Mallory resides in New Jersey with her husband.

November 29, 2022 - 6:14pm


Press Release

Batavia Society of Artists is having its Winter Art Exhibit at the Richmond Memorial Library's Gallery Room for the month of December.  All are welcome to the Free Opening Reception Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with light refreshments.

Every Winter Show we highlight one of our members. This show's "Featured Artist" is David Burke.  We are having a monetary prize for the People's Choice Award that night.  So please come to the Opening Reception and vote for your favorite piece of art!

The hanging date for entries is this coming Saturday, Dec. 4. Entry forms are due soon, and artists are asked to email your artwork information and attach payment to the back of your artwork when you drop it off starting Thursday and Friday.

The entry fee is $15, checks payable to Batavia Society of Artists.  Entry fees may also be sent to: Teresa Tamfer, 157 Hutchins St., Batavia, NY, 14020.

Artwork may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the library, 19 Ross St., Batavia.

Click here For more information about BSA.

File photo of BSA Winter Show, by Howard Owens.

November 9, 2022 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, Richmond Memorial Library, notify.


A group of poll workers was surprised Tuesday evening by a voter who brought them doughnuts at Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia.

He wasn’t just any voter, though: it was a first-time occurrence for Eric Waldmiller, he said.

“At first I thought that it’s too late and I’m not going to vote,” the 22-year-old said outside of the polling site on Ross Street. “I haven’t been into it too much. I was working and one of the customers told me the polls close at 9, so I thought I have some time to do it for once.”

In the past, his work schedule seemed too busy for Waldmiller of Batavia to take time to vote, he said. He has been keeping up on election candidates — for better or worse — through ads on social media and television, he said.

Admittedly, he has possibly taken this right to vote for granted, he said, but found it was worth the effort. He plans to vote regularly from now on, he said.

“It was definitely moving, for sure,” he said. “It was my first time, I was kind of nervous. Everyone was nice and kind, they showed me what to do. It was easier than I thought.”

He figured it had been a long day for the workers, so he decided to bring them some doughnuts. His job at a local doughnut shop made it an obvious choice, he said.

“I thought it would be a nice treat for them,” he said.

The poll workers were pleasantly surprised by the sweets toward the end of their long shift. Voting had been steady throughout the day, one worker said.

Photo of Eric Waldmiller outside of a polling site Tuesday evening at Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia. Photo by Joanne Beck.

November 4, 2022 - 8:12pm
posted by Press Release in news, Richmond Memorial Library, food drive.

Press Release

Join the Richmond Memorial Library in assisting families in need in our community.

The RML Teen and Tween Programming Group will sponsor a food drive collection from November 1st-November 18th, 2022 at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St, Batavia.  Below are some suggestions of acceptable items. Please make sure all items are not past expiration and are non-perishables! 

A donation bin will be located in the foyer of the library and donations can be dropped off during regular library hours.  Donations will be delivered to the Salvation Army.  Questions can be directed to Teen Services Librarian Felicia Cecere ([email protected]) or Library Assistant Ellen Brokaw ([email protected]).

Suggested Items for Donation:

Boxed Stuffing Mix, Instant Mashed Potatoes, Jars of Gravy (or Gravy Mix Packets), Canned Yams, Cranberry Sauce, Canned Vegetables, Cornbread Mix, Canned Pie Fillings, Pie Crust Mix, Box Dessert Mixes, Drink Mixes, Coffee, Tea, Crackers, Foil Baking Pans, Paper Products.

Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross St in the City of Batavia. The library is open Mon-Thurs 9 am - 9 pm and Fri & Sat 9 am - 5 pm. For more about the library, visit batavialibrary.org


October 3, 2022 - 11:57pm
posted by Press Release in news, Richmond Memorial Library, fine-free, genesee county.


Press Release

Richmond Memorial, Byron-Bergen and Haxton Memorial libraries are excited to announce they will eliminate late fees for a trial period from October 1 to December 31, 2022. They join the other Genesee County libraries – Corfu Public, Hollwedel Memorial, and Woodward Memorial libraries – that have and will continue to offer fine-free circulation.

These Nioga Library System libraries are joining public libraries nationwide that have eliminated late fees as a part of their library practice. The NIOGA trustees representing Genesee County have asked the three libraries located in Batavia, Pavilion and Oakfield to join the other three libraries that have already eliminated overdue fines.

What does going fine-free mean?
Along with the good news that overdue fines will be eliminated, there are still responsibilities for borrowers. Items belonging to the libraries in Genesee County that are checked out from Oct. 1 until Dec. 31, 2022 will not incur overdue fines, and any fines accruing or maximized to currently late or lost materials will be forgiven if returned during the trial. Other library charges for printing, replacement cards, lost and damaged materials, or unpaid fines on materials previously returned late, will still apply.

Materials will still have due dates and patrons are still expected to renew, if possible, or return materials on time. Patrons will receive two reminders to return their items if they are overdue. Materials that are 28 days overdue are assumed lost, and patrons will be charged replacement costs. Patrons with overdue materials will be blocked from library services until the items are returned, and/or bills are paid.

“The Genesee County libraries that have been fine-free have had great success with recovering lost books, and patrons with previous fines are coming back to the libraries to take advantage of our materials, programs, and services,” says Kristie Miller, a Nioga Trustee representing www.batavialibrary.org Genesee County. “This is why we have asked the other three Genesee County libraries to try a fine-free period from October to the end of December.”

Why would public libraries do this?
Because it works! In an article from "CNN," the New York Public Library reported a record number of library card sign-ups after announcing that they would be dropping all fines. Chicago Public Library indicated that they have seen an increase in the number of materials returned of almost 85 percent after going fine-free.

Anecdotal evidence from local parent groups indicates that many families avoid using the library for fear of accumulating fines and creating financial hardship during already economically trying times. Eliminating fines reduces barriers to access: many of the people that need libraries the most are often driven away by late fees and are a deterrent to returning to take part in other
programs or services.

“Some may have concerns that going fine-free will cause a deficit in the library’s operating budget. We do not collect anywhere near enough fines to significantly impact our budget. Most months, the amount of overdue fees we collect totals up to a fraction of 1% of our operating budget,” says Kim Gibson, Library Director at the Haxton Memorial Library in Oakfield. “Our goal is to keep the library as a community resource for as many people as possible, so we are eager to go fine-free,” she adds.

Those with questions can contact their local library’s director or manager!

  • Byron Bergen Public Library: Nancy Bailey (585-494-1120)
  • Corfu Public Library: Diana Reding (585-599-3321)
  • Haxton Memorial Library (Oakfield): Kim Gibson (585-948-9900)
  • Hollwedel Memorial Library (Pavilion): Josselyn Borowiec (585-584-8843)
  • Richmond Memorial Library (Batavia): Bob Conrad (585-343-9550)
  • Woodward Memorial Library (LeRoy): Betsy Halvorsen (585-768-8300)

The Nioga Library System is a non-profit cooperative library system serving the 21 public libraries in Niagara, Orleans and Genesee Counties. The system is one of 23 similar systems in New York State. More information is available on the library system’s website at www.Nioga.org.

September 19, 2022 - 3:57pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Richmond Memorial Library, Bob Conrad, batavia, notify.


There’s a certain library director who bowls, collects cocktail paraphernalia and has taken a “deep dive” into trivia tournaments. This person is also about to head southeast toward Westchester County.

Give up? You won’t make his trivia team — a regional first place winner — any time soon then. The answer is Bob Conrad, head of Richmond Memorial Library for the last eight years.

Conrad has taken a position as director of Chappaqua Library. His last day is Oct 28, and he got a little teary while talking about his past experiences and present relationship with Richmond Memorial Library.

“It’s a fantastic job, a great library. I only hope I’ve maintained the standards,” Conrad said during an interview with The Batavian. “I have a very active, hands-on board. They’re going to really enjoy the process of appointing another director, and show them what’s needed. My transition when I started, the success of it, was due entirely to the extraordinary skill and competence of the staff that I inherited from the previous director.”

Catalogue of accomplishments
He listed what he believes have been “my best work,” including to commission new library cards and logos, helping to introduce the Dolly Parton Imagination program, plus ensure that it’s funded and expanded; write a $25,000 grant from Ralph Wilson Legacy Foundation to broaden the scope of recipients for the Library Visits program to include under age 60 and caregivers.

He launched the Richmond Library Foundation to better manage endowments and solicit additional funding.

The Foundation is funding the library’s student intern this fall, named named the Joe Zaso Student Internship, after a former president of the Friends of the Library. A long-term goal of the foundation is to raise and manage funds for the library's unspecified long-term needs, Conrad said.

He has appreciated the opportunity of working with community members such as city schools Superintendent Jason Smith, who was supportive of the library director, Conrad said. Ever since he began in July 2014, he has found welcoming people.

“It’s always a tremendous privilege to serve at a library in any capacity, but as director, with a board that supports my capacity … from the moment that I walked in these doors, I had friends. And the day I walk out, I'll be missing them.”

The slow metamorphosis
He took a walk way down memory lane, to his first library gig, and the missteps in between. Though, they weren’t really missteps at all, since he enjoyed his part-time jobs at record and book stores, and coffee shops along the way to getting official library jobs.

Conrad was born and raised in Irondequoit, and left for Chicago at 17 to study radio, TV and film at Northwestern University. His goal, he sheepishly admitted, was to find “the best and fanciest college I could get into.” And one that he could also afford, he said. He didn’t just want a degree, but also one from a prestigious-sounding college.

He mulled San Francisco and New York City schools, but his mom wouldn’t let the teenager move to either coast. He settled on Northwestern, which had the best education for a film degree, he said.

And so my second tier of choices were Boston University and Northwestern. Northwestern had the better financial aid package for me as a low-income student. If you say low income in the article, my mom will be so embarrassed. It's her. It's her shame. I have no shame. I tell everyone,” he said. “When I graduated, I didn't really have jobs lined up, or prospects. You know, despite how good the school is, you're still another filmmaker out there.”

A change of (a tell-tale) heart
While working his part-time jobs, he learned something about his goal for a film career.

“One of the things I learned was, I didn’t particularly want to do that any more,” he said.

Conrad, now 47, also took a writing certificate course that produced many successful writers out of his classmates. He pointed to a poster of Seth Meyers on his office wall as an example.

He “really liked my life” then, he said, working in Chicago. And all the while, colleagues would advise him to continue his education. They’d say things like “Bob, you’re a bright young man who doesn't know what he wants to do for the rest of his life, and you want a career that supports creative endeavors and ambitions, good work life balance,” suggesting that he stay in Chicago and get a master's degree in library science.

“‘You could make a career at this,’ they said. And then I pursued my master's in library science. And I thought I would, because I was working in an academic library, I thought that would be my career. And I worked a number of paraprofessional positions in many colleges around the Chicago area and I worked reference desk at community colleges,” he said. “If I sketched it all out in detail, it would horrify you, but that's what young people's lives are like, you know, I need more money.”

He ended up working at a number of branches throughout the Chicago area, including his alma mater Northwestern, Eckhart Park, Herald Bezazian, and Mayfair branches. There were learning lessons throughout it all: in his first weeks at Eckhart Park, ironically while reading a book about rats, he had to diagnose and solve a rat infestation at the library; and at Mayfair learning snippets of Arabic to communicate with patrons.


Things got real when he knew that he could go toe-to-toe with any librarian.

“As a branch manager I recognized also that my skills could could be put on the market nationwide. So I was really looking for jobs in the San Francisco Bay area where I have friends, and in the New York City area at the time, because I wouldn't have minded moving there at the time,” he said. “And the New York City jobs are listed on the same library job ad that the rest of New York State is listed.”

Conrad's choice
As he scouted ads for library vacancies in New York, he found two: one each in Ithaca and Batavia. Having grown up in Monroe County, he was familiar with Western New York and opted to apply to Richmond library. Although he initially thought the city would be more like a Rochester suburb, he discovered otherwise.

“I thought that for one stupid reason, because in high school, our track and cross country teams would race against Batavia. So I made the assumption that Batavia must be a Rochester suburb, like where I was from. But as soon as I got here for the interview, I came early enough to drive around to scope out the lay of the land, I instantly recognized that no, it was its own small city,” he said. “And I started to wonder, is it more of a Buffalo city or a Rochester City? And it did not take me long to figure out it's a little bit of both. I instantly recognized that Batavia was someplace special. It took me the next couple of years to appreciate who lives here. The source of wealth is really agriculture.”

Being a “joiner,” it didn’t take long for Conrad to immerse himself into the community — becoming a member of Kiwanis Club, a bowling team, and Leadership Genesee, and deeply embracing team trivia. His team has played all over the GLOW region, and one season became first place champs.

What’s a tip for being good at trivia? Read widely, he suggested. It was only through a random Roddy Doyle novel he had read that he recognized one of the details to know the answer was Ireland, he said. He fought his team to say the answer, as no one else thought he was right. It was quite unlikely, given the keyword seemed to point to Italy, but that novel earned him rights to do a little ‘I told you so’ strut, Conrad said.

He looks forward to what’s ahead for him, and he expects there to be an interim director while the board conducts interviews for the next director.

“I’m one of those people drawn to this field because I value what libraries value: the power of great ideas, good ideas, bad ideas, and stories,” he said. “Libraries make us better people, and better able to govern ourselves. And I feel like in Batavia, the people I dealt with through this job were the best people in the community.”

Richmond Memorial Library Director Bob Conrad will be leaving his post at the end of October, and going to Chappaqua Library. Photos by Joanne Beck.

September 19, 2022 - 3:11pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news.

Press release:

Richmond Memorial Library is gearing up for a month of programs in anticipation of the 2022 Richmond Reads Author Visit on Thursday, October 20 at 7 pm. This year’s program features a review contest, book discussions, a film screening and the main event with author Brendan Slocumb and his book The Violin Conspiracy. After two years of virtual programs, the committee is excited to host this year’s author in person!

The review contest has become a popular part of Richmond Reads. Each year, readers are invited to write a review of the chosen book and submit it for a chance to win a prize. This year’s contest runs from September 1- October 8. After anonymous review by the Richmond Reads committee, two winners will be chosen. This year’s prize? Dinner with the author and the Richmond Reads committee at a local restaurant prior to the author event on Thursday, October 20!

  • Read "The Violin Conspiracy" by Brendan Slocumb
  • Write a review of the book of 200 words or fewer.
  • Submit your entry by 5:00 pm on Saturday, October 8.

 Instead of simply summarizing the book, consider the following as you write your review:

  • How did this book impact you? Were you able to relate to any characters or situations?
  • What were the most significant moments in the plot?
  • What truths do you think were expressed through the ending?
  • How does the setting affect the story?

Reviews will be judged on creativity, originality, and writing quality.

Entries must follow all contest rules and use contest entry forms, which can be found at the library or on the library’s website at batavialibrary.org/richmond-reads. Contest sponsored by the Friends of Richmond Memorial Library.

Other programs and events:

Book Discussions: Read "The Violin Conspiracy" and join a community discussion on Monday, October 3 at 6:30 pm, Wednesday, October 12 at 9 am or Saturday, October 15 at 10 am. The only requirement to attend is to read the book!

Reel Discussions: Thursday, October 6 at 6:30 pm. Watch the PBS Documentary "Violin Masters: Two Gentlemen of Cremona" and join the discussion to follow. “Everyone has heard of Antonio Stradivari, but few know the name Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù. Through interviews with historians, experts, luthiers, and virtuosos, this documentary tells the story of these two masters of violinmaking and why today their stringed instruments are worth millions of dollars to musicians and collectors the world over.”

Author Visit: "The Violin Conspiracy" author Brendan Slocumb will be at Richmond Memorial Library on Thursday, October 20 at 7 pm for a reading, talk and signing. All are welcome. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at the event for $20, cash or check.

Copies of the book are available to borrow from the library in regular print and large print, as well as in eBook or audiobook format on the Libby app. Copies are available to purchase at the library for $20, cash or check. The book was chosen with older teen and adult readers in mind.

Richmond Reads is sponsored by the Richmond Memorial Library and the Friends of Richmond Memorial Library. Visit batavialibrary.org/richmond-reads for all information. Questions may be directed to program coordinator Samantha Basile.

August 24, 2022 - 2:18pm

Press release:

The 2022 Fall series of Books Sandwiched In will take place on Wednesdays in September at Richmond Memorial Library. Join guest speakers for reviews of best-selling non-fiction books from 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. Coffee, tea and refreshments will be served at each session and participants do not need to read the book in order to attend! This program is built around the lunch hour, so attendees are also invited to bring their lunch. There will be a door prize at each session.

Wednesday, September 7 at 12:10 p.m. – Richmond Memorial Library Teen Librarian Felicia Cecere will review Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner.

Currently in week 56 on the New York Times bestseller list, Japanese Breakfast indie pop star Zauner “presents a full-length account of her viral New Yorker essay to share poignant reflections on her experiences of growing up Korean-American, becoming a professional musician and caring for her terminally ill mother.” (from NoveList summary)

Wednesday, September 14 at 12:10 p.m. - Retired professor and community volunteer Barb Shine will review The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura.

“Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for a mission beyond the scope of ‘ordinary’ womanhood. Though the world at first recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity ultimately won her the acceptance of the male medical establishment. In 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her younger sister, Emily, who was actually the more brilliant physician.” (from publisher summary)

Wednesday, September 21 at 12:10 p.m. - Office for the Aging Director Diana Fox will review The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson.
 Bryson “turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up.” (from publisher summary)

Wednesday, September 28 at 12:10 p.m. - Jason Smith, Superintendent of Batavia City Schools, will review His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham.

“John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature.’ Integral to Lewis's commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God - and an unshakable belief in the power of hope.” (from NoveList summary)

Books Sandwiched In is free to attend and all are welcome, no registration is required. Sessions will be recorded and available to view on the library’s YouTube page at youtube.com/richmondmemlibrary. Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross Street in the City of Batavia. Books Sandwiched In is sponsored by The Friends of Richmond Memorial Library.

August 14, 2022 - 7:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nancy Mortellaro, Richmond Memorial Library, news, batavia.


Nancy Mortellaro just loves lisianthus flowers.

She told The Batavian two years ago, "I think they’re gorgeous. They look like roses. They’re gorgeous and they last a long, long, long time in a vase."

She has been buying seeds and planting lisianthus plants in a garden bed outside tof he Richmond Memorial Library for five years. Today, she was honored by the library's Board of Directors with a plaque naming the garden in her honor.

"Nancy Mortellaro's dedication to the Batavia community has been exemplary," Board President Gregg McAllister said. "All of us as residents of this community are beneficiaries of her vision and energy through her involvement in several organizations. She particularly has been a dear friend of the library, always interested in what is going on here, and being involved and supportive."

Library Director Bob Conrad brought about some laughs with his telling of a story about the garden's popularity.

"Not to pat my own back or toot my own horn," he began, "but our new library cards with this beautiful 1895 building photographed by a local photographer, is a great new logo, I basically deserve all the awards. And instead, I got one phone call. One angry phone call saying, 'Bob, I wanted a library card with the lisianthus garden on it.'

"I'll tell you in a community of 19,000, you can't make everyone happy. The lisianthus garden seems to. Thank you, Nancy."

Mortellaro thanked all of the volunteers who have helped her over the years, and said she was honored and happy that the community has expressed so much appreciation for the garden.


Bob Conrad unveils the garden plaque.


Nancy Mortellaro, sitting, center, with her family, in town this weekend for a family reunion.

August 14, 2022 - 7:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news.


After 30 years away -- with her husband Rick, working as a nurse in Albany -- when Anne Iannello returned to Batavia in 2017 for retirement -- she gravitated to the Richmond Memorial Library.

After all, it's a place of childhood memories.

Soon, she was drawn to the Friends of the Library and started looking for a volunteer opportunity.  She met Lucine Kauffman, head of the Library Visits program, who assured her she would love being a Library Visits volunteer.

"It's easy," Kauffman told Iannello.

"All you have to do was go out and deliver some books, chat up a little bit of conversation, check in with them," Iannello recalled Kauffman telling her. "Again, it's very easy."

A couple of Iannello's "easy" deliveries included bringing books during the pandemic to an elderly shut-in who told Iannello to come to her dining room window at the side of the house.  

"So after we went through some pricker bushes, the window finally it started to rise up slowly and out came a fishing net," she recalled. "Now, I would have someplace to put the books.  So, of course, again, I get some scratches from the pricker bushes wrapping the books in the fishnet, but once that was all set, I was like, 'hey, I can do this.'"

Another "easy" assignment was bringing some books to a woman who informed Iannello after she arrived in the woman's apartment that she needed to get her cat to the vet.

"Speaking of scratches," Ianello said at the beginning of her story, "if you know or have a cat, you know the cat's wonderful. It's the difficulty of getting them and chasing them in a small apartment and putting them in a box that's probably the worst part. She certainly let me know that. But there was a great outcome. So that was good as well."

Iannello's sense of humor and good cheer, along with her hard work and dedication, is why she was given the Friends of the Library Volunteer of the Year Award on Saturday.

"You make a difference when you volunteer," said Kathy Zipkin, president of the Friends Board of Directors. "You make life better for so many by delivering books and movies and by simply being a good listener with compassion. When you give your time to helping others, it shows your kindness, generosity, and quality, and character. I want you to know just how much your dedication to volunteering is so greatly valued by so many here at the library and beyond."

Iannello recommended the "easy" Library Visits program to anybody who wants to volunteer in the community.

"This is such a wonderful program, to reach out to these seniors in the community that are unable to come to the library, so we could bring the library to them," she said. "It's so important."

Photo: Anne Iannello and Samantha Basile, community and adult services librarian, with the plaque that now also contains Iannello's name as a volunteer of the year for 2022. Photo by Howard Owens.

August 4, 2022 - 5:06pm


Press release:

The Richmond Memorial Library will host a Garden Dedication and Friend of the Year Reception on Saturday, August 13, beginning at 10:00 am near the garden by the Ross Street entrance. Nancy Mortellaro and Anne Iannello will be honored in separate ceremonies for their contributions to the library.

Beginning at 10 am, the Richmond Memorial Library Board of Trustees will dedicate the Lisianthus flower garden to longtime volunteer and library supporter Nancy Mortellaro.

"Nancy's dedication to the library has taken numerous forms over the decades, but most recently and most visibly she's been purchasing, planting and caring for the beautiful Lisianthus flower garden near the Ross Street entrance of our driveway, or coordinating the efforts of volunteers who plant for her,” shared Gregg McAllister, President of the library’s Board of Trustees. “The library board is grateful for her generosity and efforts, and wanted to find a way to thank her."

Immediately following the garden dedication, the Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library will host a reception in the Gallery Room to honor 2022 Friend of the Year Anne Iannello. Each year, the Friends honor a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their service to the library. Anne is a volunteer with Library Visits, a “ask Marshall” program that brings library services and materials to homebound individuals in Genesee County. She delivers materials to several patrons in addition to making quarterly phone calls to patrons as a form of connection and to check on what they need from the program.

Library Visits coordinator Lucine Kauffman suggested Anne for the award, sharing that “Anne is the kind of volunteer every program hopes for. She has brought so much to our Library Visits patrons and I’m so happy the Friends have chosen to honor her with this award.”

All are welcome to attend these ceremonies. To attend one or both of these events, RSVP by calling the library at 343-9550 x2 or stop by the circulation desk to sign up. For more information about the library or other events, visit batavialibrary.org.


July 18, 2022 - 5:20pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, news, batavia.

Press release:

The Richmond Memorial Library Tweens & Teens Staff will be sponsoring a Book Drive for Children’s and Young Adult books starting this month. The book drive begins July 27th and runs through August 13th, 2022. The books can be for children or teens of all ages, must be in new or good condition, and can be dropped off and put in the purple crates in the RML Foyer anytime the library is open. 

“Books are the way into a world of imagination for young children and teens alike,” shared Teen Librarian Felicia Cecere. “We are so thrilled to be doing the book drive again this year, as it was such a success last year!” 

The Library G.I.F.T. Program (Generate Imagination in Families Today) is dedicated to making new or gently used books available to children and their families in our area, and to raising awareness of the lifelong benefits of early childhood literacy. Bright boxes and shelves of G.I.F.T. books are located at agencies and businesses in Batavia. Children can take a book from the shelf to bring home, read, and keep! Having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on propelling a child to higher lifelong education levels and earnings, potentially breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty  -- and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.

“Batavia is known for being a welcoming community and the donations will truly enhance the G.I.F.T program,” said Children’s Room Assistant Ellen Brokaw. “This program extends out into the community and helps the kids have access to books at specific agencies and businesses in Batavia.”  

For information on the book drive and other library programs, visit the library website at www.batavialibrary.org, or check out our Facebook and Instagram pages!  

Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross St in the City of Batavia. The library is open 9 am - 9 pm Monday-Thursday and 9 am - 5 pm Friday and Saturday.

July 10, 2022 - 10:27pm


The obstacles faced by a young black musician and untangling the mystery of who stole his priceless violin makes for a compelling story, said Samantha Basile at the reveal of the Richmond Memorial Library's summer reading selection.

"This year, we had a lot of strong contenders, but we kept coming back to one in particular," said Basile, the community and adult services librarian at the Richmond library. "So this year's title selection is a debut novel. It is part mystery part coming-of-age story. It was a Good Morning America GMA book club pick."

The selection is The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocum.

Basile said the selection committee, which has been reading review copies of multiple novels over the past year, was "drawn to the powerfully written passages about music, the element of mystery, and the no holds barred portrayal of the obstacles faced by a young black classical musician and contemporary America."

Basile played a short video from Slocum in which he described and discussed his debut novel.

"It's a story about perseverance and hard work and the power of one person believing in you and believing in yourself," Slocum said. "It's a story of Ray, who discovers that his old family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius violin. This discovery catapults him into superstardom in the world of classical music. And right before the Tchaikovsky Competition, which is the Olympics of classical music, his violin is stolen."

And thus the mystery begins, and a determined protagonist works diligently to uncover, from among many suspects, who stole his violin so he can recover it in time for the competition.

"This story came to me in the summer of 2020 When everything was shut down for everyone," Slocum said. "As a professional violinist, I wasn't playing any concerts. I wasn't teaching any lessons. I wasn't practicing for any recitals, or performances or anything. So it really gave me an opportunity to sit down and write."

Members of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra's string section performed during the reveal and Library Visits Coordinator Lucine Kauffman read a passage from the book (see video below).

Slocum will be at Richmond library, 19 Ross St., Batavia, at 7 p.m. Oct. 7  to discuss his book and sign copies.

The Richmond Reads Committee will host additional book discussions and readings during the summer.

Copies of the book are available now to borrow at the library in regular or large print, and on the Libby app as an eBook or audiobook. Copies may be purchased at the front desk for $20, cash or check made out to the Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library.

Photos by Howard Owens



July 5, 2022 - 5:44pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news, history.


Press release:

Mary Todd Lincoln to visit Richmond Memorial Library

Richmond Memorial Library is pleased to host librarian Laura Keyes of Historic Voices as she portrays Mary Todd Lincoln on Saturday, July 16 at 2 pm. The program will take place in the Reading Room and is free to attend. All are welcome!

Mary Todd Lincoln lived a life filled with triumphs and tragedies but few people know her story. Now, librarian Laura Keyes shares Mary’s story in an entertaining and educational program entitled “Mrs. Lincoln in Love,” which is set on January 31st 1862, when Mrs. Lincoln and her family are settled comfortably in the Executive Mansion. Visiting with ladies during Afternoon Tea, Mrs. Lincoln reflects on the Loves of her Life – her children, her husband, and her country. She even shares some of Mr. Lincoln’s love letters to her! Learn how Mary’s knowledge of both politics and social customs made it possible for a backwoods frontier attorney to achieve the highest office in the land.

Laura Keyes graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master’s Degree in Library Studies and is Director of the Dunlap Public Library. Laura is a lifetime member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, and in 2017 won the Mary Todd Lincoln Oratory Contest at the Lincoln Days celebration in Hodgenville, KY.

For more about Laura Keyes, visit www.LauraFKeyes.com or visit her Facebook at facebook.com/HistoricVoices. Find more programs and events at Richmond Memorial Library at batavialibrary.org/calendar. Summer Reading programs for children, teens, and adults are now in full swing! Visit the library or the website for more information.

Photo via LauraFKeyes.com 

June 29, 2022 - 6:44pm
posted by Press Release in news, Richmond Memorial Library, Library Visits Program.

Press Release

Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia has received a $60,000 grant from the Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging of Rochester Area Community Foundation for continued operation of the Library Visits Program (LVP).

Since 1997, The Library Visits Program (formerly SAGE) has delivered library services to Genesee County residents 60+ years old who are unable to visit the library due to long or short term illness, disability, or lack of transportation.

Through personalized visits, LVP staff and volunteers bring the library to caregivers and older adults to increase social interaction and improve their access to needed resources. Visits can include any materials that may be checked out of the library in addition to technology assistance for home computers and mobile devices.

Library Visits Program staff also deliver rotating mini-library collections to 15 elder care and senior resident facilities in Genesee County. Overall, the program serves around 500 older adults in our community.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation engages philanthropists and community partners to improve our eight-county region by promoting philanthropy that helps to create an equitable community and strengthen our region’s vitality. Since 1972, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $590 million in grants and scholarships.

For more information, visit www.racf.org.

To apply for services or volunteer for The Library Visits Program, please call Richmond Memorial Library staff at 343-9550 Ext. 6 or email [email protected]. For additional information, go to https://www.batavialibrary.org/libraryvisits

June 14, 2022 - 11:06pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news.


Press release:

Dive into Summer Reading Programs for all ages at Richmond Memorial Library!

Join the Richmond Memorial Library for “Oceans of Possibilities” themed summer reading programs for all ages! Visit batavialibrary.org/calendar to see all of the upcoming events for the summer. Summer Reading Programs are sponsored by the Friends of Richmond Memorial Library.

Summer Reading Concert in the Park in partnership with the Batavia Concert Band – Wednesday, June 29 at 7 pm
Nothing says summer like a concert in the park!  Join the Richmond Memorial Library at Centennial Park (151 State Street, Batavia NY 14020) as the Batavia Concert Band pays tribute to our summer reading theme, Oceans of Possibilities. Kids will enjoy the chance to meet a little mermaid or a pirate of the Caribbean, and readers of all ages can sign up for summer reading programs. Bring your own blankets or folding chairs. In the event of rain, this program will be moved to the Stuart Steiner Theatre at Genesee Community College (1 College Road, Batavia NY 14020).

Children’s Summer Reading Program (June 24- August 13, ages birth- 12)
Join the Children’s Room for a Summer Reading Kick-Off on Friday, June 24 from 10 am – 4 pm! Register for the summer reading challenge and enjoy some pizza! Pizza will be served at 12 pm, 1 pm & 2 pm (while supplies last).  This year’s children’s program includes the Read & Bead reading challenge, and Family Fun Fridays (2 pm each Friday beginning July 1) with favorites like Buffalo and Brandy, Benjamin Berry and new friends as well! Other programs include Monday Story Time (10 am for babies, toddlers and preschoolers), Little Scientists on Tuesdays (3:30 pm for ages 7-12, please register), and Lunch Bunch on Thursdays (12 pm for ages six and up who enjoy a longer story!) There will also be an art club on June 15, July 20 and August 24, and many other programs! More info about all of our programs available at batavialibrary.org.

Teen Summer Reading program (June 27- August 20, ages 13—17)
Summer reading programming for teens aged 13-17 at the library includes classes by Mandy Humphrey of Art of Mandy, Yoga with Blue Pearl Yoga, and art projects with Morgan Wagner.  Teens can also participate in Summer Reading BINGO beginning June 27th.  BINGO Boards can be picked up in the Teen Corner or online through the registration link on our website.  Participants can complete challenges for entries in our weekly prizes and our grand prize.  We will also be starting our first installment of the “Laid Back Book Club”-- perfect for on-the-go teens, this program is designed for participants to read at their own pace and chat with other readers as they go.  The title for this summer is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Copies are available in the Teen Corner and on audio or as an ebook through Libby and Hoopla. Read the book to earn a BINGO square and join us for many other activities like a movie night and in-person conversations.

Adult Summer Reading Program (June 27- August 20, ages 18 and up)
Adults are invited to participate in RML’s Adult Summer Reading BINGO Challenge! Complete library and reading challenges for a chance to win weekly and grand prizes.  Participants in the adult summer reading challenge must have a valid library card in the NIOGA system to play for prizes. Register at the reference desk or at batavialibrary.org beginning June 27. Complete rules and information will be provided with registration and a sample BINGO board will be on display at the library. The three grand prizes are (1) a book lover’s basket stuffed with bookish and local goodies valued over $100 (2) a Kindle Paperwhite eReader, and (3) a $50 gift certificate to Lift Bridge Books in Brockport. Challenges range from “read a short book” to “watch a film or show about the ocean or water” to “attend a library program.” Programs planned for this summer include book discussions, the Richmond Reads title reveal, creative writing workshops, craft classes, concerts, film screenings, and even a visit from Mary Todd Lincoln! Visit the library or batavialibrary.org/calendar for more information about programs.

For information about library programs, visit batavialibrary.org, call 585-343-9550 or stop by the library at 19 Ross St, Batavia. The library is open Monday – Thursday 9 am – 9 pm and Friday and Saturday 9 am - 5 pm.

June 12, 2022 - 1:18pm


As part of PRIDE month and GLOW OUT, the Richmond Memorial Library hosted a drag queen story hour in the children's section with drag queen Chaka Khanteven.

It was a capacity audience for the event with 35 children attending and participating in a craft event after the reading.

Photos by Howard Owens.


June 3, 2022 - 5:57pm


Sarah Martin is becoming a pro at talking, assembling, chopping, stirring and serving up nutritious lessons, along with a tasty edible, without missing a beat.

Martin is a SNAP-Ed nutritionist with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Her job got off to a slow start, thanks to all things COVID-19 a year ago, but then she was able to begin her monthly SNAP-Ed workshops in the fall.

“I’ll keep going as long as there’s interest,” she said during an interview Friday at her Batavia office. “The information we provide is general, healthy information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and we use evidence-based curriculums.”

Her next workshop is set for 6 p.m. June 7 at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia.

It will focus on the My Plate concept of filling about half your plate with fruits and vegetables, about a quarter of it for protein and another quarter grains, with a small dollop of dairy. Out of everything her lessons might include, she emphasizes grains, with a goal to make at least half of your grains whole grains, she said.

"I'm going to talk about the MyPlate, so I'm going to discuss the five food groups," she said. "And just talk about kind of balancing those groups and good ways to incorporate foods from each group and why it's important to eat all five groups."

Flash Quiz: What is the best way to know that the bread you are buying is a whole-grain product?
If you think that bread labeled with the words "multi-grain," "stone-ground," "100 percent wheat," "cracked wheat," "seven-grain," or "bran" fit the bill, the buzzer just went off. These loaves of bread are usually not whole-grain products, Martin said. Look for the word "whole" in the ingredient list.

There are three parts of a grain, and eating them whole means including each component that provides fiber, iron, B vitamins and other nutrients, she said. Those foods include oats, whole wheat products and brown rice. The other types of grain foods are processed, which removes those good nutrients and fiber, such as in white breads and pastas. She has plenty of information to share just about grains alone.

“We have a whole class on it,” Martin said.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and SNAP-Ed is a nutrition education program for those income-eligible folks that use SNAP benefits for food purchases. Grant-funded by the USDA, the program allows staff to provide nutrition education to primarily underserved communities, she said. That education might be taught at libraries, schools, clinics, and community centers while other types of work focus on policies, the environment, school wellness and fruit and vegetable "prescription" programs, she said.

“The beauty of SNAP-Ed is that with a lot of fad diets they tend to radicalize the diet,” Martin said. “What can you add to those things to really bump up the nutrition? So we're not trying to really overhaul anything, we're just trying to make sure everyone's informed, and to share discussion space on how to add nutrition to the day. For each individual group of nutrients, what are the ways you can eat those foods? So for vegetables, we go through a list of vegetables, some common foods, and list the fiber, vitamins and minerals.”

Speaking of vegetables, are beans, peas and lentils part of this food category? Actually, they can be counted in two groups: protein and vegetables, she said.

Flash Quiz: What color vegetable should you eat the most?
This is a trick question, Martin said, since varying your veggies ensures you get many different vitamins and minerals. Aim for what’s called a Rainbow Plate, she said, filled with an assortment of colors, such as carrots, broccoli and red peppers.

“A rainbow plate is full of colors, which indicate various levels of nutrients,” she said.

“Usually I'll present on a topic, but I try to make it a little more discussion. I invite everyone to chime in and ask questions. We make it a little bit of a discussion about what's your food experience? Where do you see the least foods being used or not? I try to keep it very engaging and interactive, we do sometimes bring in activities.”




Martin demonstrated how she might lead a class and walk members through a recipe. She made a chicken salad and laid out all of the ingredients, followed by chopping the celery, onion and apple. She then mixed in a mayo-Greek yogurt combination and seasonings. At the end, participants will get a sampling of the final dish. The recipe included multiple food groups, she said, of fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy, fat, and grain with an added slice of toasted whole wheat bread.

Another part of the education is to inform people about opportunities such as farmers' market programs; places where participants can use their SNAP dollars or stretch their food dollars, she said.

Melissa Kimbrell is Cooperative Extension’s regional coordinator, and she oversees grants and statistics-related details, such as the results of surveys after a workshop. She tries to gauge if people walked away with something they didn’t know when the talk began. And, perhaps most importantly, did they intend to incorporate some new food — 100 percent whole wheat, for example — or behavior to their lifestyle.

"The beautiful thing … is about working the food demonstrations into our classes,” Kimbrell said. “Our entire website focuses on recipes that have fewer ingredients, they're not cumbersome to make; they're fairly easy and straightforward. It really tries to prioritize nutrition and follow that sort of My Plate methodology that we're talking about, as far as how to approach your plate.”

She doesn’t just talk about that concept, but often follows it by visiting the website for recipes, she said.

“I use it all the time in my personal life, because it's just a one-stop-shop for easy, low-cost recipes that I know are nourishing.,” Kimbrell said.

These talks are given in areas that have people experiencing poverty, are underserved and where at least 50 percent of children qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program, she said.

“Because we believe that nutrition education and these types of services should be available to everyone regardless of socio-economic status,” she said. “So it's the way that we sort of strategically get ourselves into the community and where we hold the classes, that sort of dictates the target audience piece of it.”

That being said, no one is removed from a workshop or is required to show any type of proof as a SNAP recipient, she said.

Some popular topics have been how to understand food labels and ingredient lists better; making swaps for recipes when one doesn’t have or like one or more of the ingredients; how to add exercise to an otherwise sedentary lifestyle; and finding the hidden sugars in the myriad of foods and beverages.

“People are consuming so much sugar and calories through what they drink. And it really throws off the balance to the nutrition for their day. So we do have content where we try to really bring awareness to sugary beverages and the role they play, and also awareness to how much sugar is in these sort of casual things that we drink that we don't necessarily think have sugar in them,” Kimbrell said. “So another big goal of ours is to reduce the sugary beverage consumption and getting people to choose water, low-fat dairy, things like that, more often.”

“The feedback that we get from people is, I've had people tell me, ‘oh, you know, I switched from chocolate milk to white milk,' after we did a lesson on sugar, or I'm drinking more water now or I'm eating my veggies. That's what makes me smile,” she said.

Kimbrell admitted that she has struggled with reducing her pop consumption in trade for more water. But she has also learned ways to eliminate those 12 teaspoons of sugar per small bottle of cola, such as drinking noncaloric flavored seltzer.

These talks aren’t about hitting someone over the head with suggestions, but about providing information and facts so that people can make an informed decision, Martin said.

“We do leave that choice up to the person,” she said. “It's to help clarify, because there is a lot of information out there and misinformation. So I think it's to clarify what the science is saying about what good nutrition looks like. It's to maybe help with a healthy way of thinking about food. So, you know, food isn't just calories. Food is something that we share with our family and our friends. It's about trying to maybe make food a little more friendly.”

No registration is required for the monthly workshops, and they are free. For more information, go to:



Top photo: Sarah Martin, a SNAP-Ed nutritionist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, gives monthly talks that include a food demonstration the first Tuesday of each month at Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia. Sarah Martin leads her way through a recipe of chicken salad, offering tips and reminders about being sanitary, using safe knife skills, being prepared and how to substitute ingredients when needed. Her next workshop, about My Plate and the five food groups, is at 6 p.m. June 7 at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia. Photos by Joanne Beck

May 9, 2022 - 4:38pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, books, Literature, batavia, news.

Press release:

Richmond Memorial Library will welcome back author George “Rollie” Adams to discuss his new work of historical fiction, Found in Pieces. Mr. Adams, president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play, will be at the library for a talk and signing on Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm.

Found in Pieces was recognized by the Independent Press Awards as the winner of its 2022 Award for Race Relations. Set in fictional Unionville, Arkansas, Found in Pieces unfolds during the second year of turmoil over Governor Orval Faubus’s determination to stop the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Found in Pieces, recipient of five previous national and international awards for historical and social issues fiction, explores the tension between business considerations and editorial policy in journalism during the Civil Rights Era in the South.

Copies of the book are available to check out at the library before the program & will be available for sale by the author at the event for $15 (paperback) or $20 (hardcover), cash or check.

This event is free and all are welcome. It is best suited to older teens and adults.

George Rollie Adams is a native of southern Arkansas and a former teacher with graduate degrees in history and education. His previous novel, South of Little Rock, received four independent publishers’ awards for regional and social issues. Adams has served as a writer, editor, and program director for the American Association for State and Local History and as director of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. He is president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play. Learn more at georgerollieadamsbooks.com

An additional press release about the Independent Press Awards honor for George Rollie Adams as well as additional background on Found In Pieces after the jump (click here read more):

May 6, 2022 - 11:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mike randall, Mark Twain, Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, news.


Mark Twain was live on Thursday night at the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia.

Actually, it was Mike Randall, the senior meteorologist for WKBW, and an actor who brought Twain to life for about 80 library patrons. 

Randall has been doing his Twain act for 50 years, with his first performance being while still in college as a teenager.

Buffalo NewsMike Randall celebrates 50 years as Mark Twain

Photo by Howard Owens

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break