County Fare | Now you can sit with the Great Barrington Newsboy Statue

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The Great Barrington Newsboy Statue, the oldest newsboy monument in the world, now has a place where folks can relax while enjoying this picturesque statue. A beautiful park bench was purchased by the New England Association of Circulation Executives and recently installed by the Great Barrington Parks Department within the park located on Newsboy Monument Lane.

NEACE will hold a dedication ceremony from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 13, in honor of Barrie J. Hughes. Hughes, a former Connecticut circulation executive, was instrumental in organizing fundraising for the statue's first restoration effort in 1970. His tireless pursuit over the years focused attention toward the care of this important historical monument. The general public is encouraged to attend the ceremony.

The Newsboy statue was given to the town of Great Barrington by Col. William Lee Brown, a local summer resident and part-time owner of a New York City newspaper. It was unveiled Oct. 10, 1895.

The working fountains at that time served as a watering trough for horses offering cool fresh water from the mouth of a bronze lion's head. By 1990, the statue was in need of further restoration.

In 1992, a significant fundraising effort spearheaded by NEACE raised $15,000 to have the ailing Newsboy nursed back to health. This restoration project was coordinated and supervised by members of Great Barrington Historical Society.

In 2016, the society, under the leadership of Paul Ivory, pledged annual inspections of the monument in hopes of staving off another restoration two decades from now. Details about this statue appear in a book written by local resident and historian Gary T. Leveille, titled "The Mystery and History of the Great Barrington Newsboy Statue."

Libraries tout free books

The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries are giving away free, used children's, teen and parenting books at both Great Barrington libraries during all regular library hours.

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Donated and deaccessioned books have been for sale at the Mason and Ramsdell libraries for many years. Money raised from the sale of books helps to support enhanced library programming, but according to friends President Ed Abrahams, the children's books will now be free.

"We want every child to take out library books, but also to have the pleasure of owning favorite books," Abrahams said. "There is no limit, so kids can take as many books as they want and keep them for as long as they want. There's really nothing like owning a book that you love."

Thanks to a donation from Lee Bank, the friends now can give away books for free without a loss of funding.

"We tried to think of what local business might be interested in sponsoring free kids' books and Lee Bank was the first place we asked," Abrahams said. "They have committed to supporting this project for at least two years, with the goal of encouraging more readers and more reading."

Chuck Leach, president and CEO of Lee Bank said, "We are absolutely thrilled that we were asked to help support this program. Encouraging reading and supporting our local libraries is top on the list of initiatives we like to support as a local community bank."

Anything from board books for babies to early readers and young adult books, to big-picture books can be found in bins and boxes opposite the children's room at Mason, and in the lobby of Ramsdell. All of these books are now free to any young reader or parent.

The ongoing adult book sale on the main floor of both libraries will continue to ask for $1 donations to fund friends projects such as museum passes, free documentary series and more. Donations of used books in good condition, or cash, are always welcome.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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