The James Prendergast Library will dedicate a new atrium in memory of a supporter and advocate for the library during its community block party at the end of June.
Jim Roselle was a radio personality who worked at WJTN in Jamestown from 1953 until his death in 2016. He spent 41 summers broadcasting daily from Chautauqua, including shows like “The Jim Roselle Show” And “the time of your life” program with his good friend Ross Dietrich. He was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
Roselle was an active member of the Jamestown community, including at the Prendergast Library, which is why the decision was made to dedicate the new yard in his name.
In addition to his celebrated career as a broadcaster, Roselle has been active in the larger Jamestown community. said Jane Champ, director of programs and facilities for the library. “He was a member of the board of directors for the Lucille Ball Little Theatre, the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club, and the James Prendergast Library. He was also chair of many community events.”
Champ said Rozelle was a user and supporter of the library and often encouraged young people to read, research, and visit the library—suffice it to say that his daughter Julie said they always knew to find him in the library.
The patio will be dedicated in a ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m. on June 24. The second annual party starts at 11am and runs until 2pm
In addition to the many community organizations with tables and activities, the library will be organizing a Summer Reading Celebration tent offering prizes and free books; Plant Barter; a unique outdoor bookstore with new books, old books, toys, and records; Lawn Games Tent Art Music by Infinity Two Food Trucks – Off the Stick Ice Cream Company and Foodies Sweets n Eats; outdoor space making activities; and more,” Champ said.
Organizations that will attend include St. Susan Center, Audubon Community Nature Center, Southern Living Tier Environments, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Food Educators, Northwest Arena District, Prevention Works, Southwestern Center for Independent Living, American Red Cross, and Girl Scouts. WNY, Chautauqua Blind Association, Chautauqua County Humane Society, Goodwill, Jamestown Tarp Skunks, Aspire, Jamestown Historic Marker Committee, Chautauqua County Weavers Guild, YWCA.
The YWCA will host their own storytimes at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to bring their Bookmark Program—which is designed to encourage young minds to think about themselves and others, recognize kindness, and appreciate each other’s differences—to the library. .
Jamestown Tarp Skunk’s mascot, Whiffy, will also be there, handing out free tickets to that day’s game.
The library is also partnering with the Jamestown Public Market—which runs downtown on Third Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—to connect the two events. The market will have its own party tent and library volunteers will distribute information about the market.
However, the special event for the day is the dedication of the yard, something the library has determined is necessary to pursue an increase in new outdoor programs.
“Over the past several years, the library’s outdoor programming has grown, with attendance increasing at outdoor story times, summer lunches, and special events,” Champ said. In addition, the Jamestown Mobile Market visits the library every Wednesday from June through September. Wednesdays in the library have become a huge hit, with outdoor crafts, story time, games, and more for the community to enjoy. Because of this enthusiasm, we’ve progressed We applied for and were awarded a state grant for library construction assistance to install new patio, lighting, and a walkway around the library. We have also received similar funds from the Sheldon and Lena Foundation.”
The increase in programming has resulted in a messy grassy area, Champ said, and the new courtyard is intended to provide a new space, not only for outdoor programs but for people to enjoy the library. The patio will have built-in benches, trash receptacles, and a new bike rack. New lights have already been installed and in early June when everything for the yard is in place the community gardens will be planted.
“A grant from the Chautauqua Area Community Foundation to support the gardens, which will feature native plants and raised beds,” Champ said. “We are working with the Chautauqua Watershed and Cornell Cooperative Extensions to design and implement the garden. In addition, the organizations have connected us with the Royal Fern Nursery, of Fredonia, which will provide many of the native plants for the project.”
Programs and events that will use the yard include; Stories, crafting lessons, book clubs, music lessons, and more. It will also be a place for people to relax, enjoy a book, or meet up with friends and family. It’s meant to be a private place for the community to enjoy, Champ said.
The library grant being used for the yard also includes updates to the HVAC system, especially for temperature control, installation of a SMART building management system, dual-filtration system HVAC upgrade with MERV-13 filters, and replacement of the old system. Cooled with modern high efficiency coolant. The library will also explore further options to increase sustainability and improve accessibility in and around the building.