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Family Roots In Old Neighborhood Bring Gift To New Library

EFPlibrary_White_reading_room.jpg
Paul Tuthill
/
WAMC
The children's reading room in the East Forest Park Library was dedicated in memory of former City Solicitor William White and his wife Patricia after their six children donated $200,000 to the library's capital campaign.

Donation relaunches funding campaign for East Forest Park Library

A family gift aims to make reading and library access available to generations of children in a Springfield, Massachusetts neighborhood.

When John White and his five siblings were children growing up on Wendover Road in East Forest Park five decades ago, their mother always made sure to take them to the bookmobile when it stopped in their neighborhood.

“ I remember vividly our mother would walk us down the hill to Old Brook Road and we would go to the bookmobile,” White said.

The children of William and Patricia White grew to have successful professional careers and all moved from Springfield – John White lives in California.

“Springfield and East Forest Park are in our hearts – always have been and always will be,” White said.

The siblings returned to their old neighborhood recently to announce a $200,000 gift to the new East Forest Park Library in their parents’ memory.

“As kids our parents instilled in us the notion of learning and education and the significance of it,” White said. “They also instilled in us the importance of giving back to the community.”

In recognition of the gift, the library named the children’s reading room in honor of William and Patricia White.

John White said if his mother could see the new library she would be proud and happy.

“It is a bigger better bookmobile,” White said. He praised the design of the new library and the technology that it contains.

“It is a great place for kids to come and learn,” he added.

At an event acknowledging the White family’s gift, Springfield Library Foundation President Pat Markey said it will help relaunch the fundraising to support the new library that had been paused because of the pandemic.

“With this gift they bring our $2 million campaign up to $1.6 million,” Markey announced.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also thanked the Whites and said their generosity will impact countless numbers of children who will use the library.

“That is just such a great great legacy,” Sarno said.

The 17,000-square foot East Forest Park Library opened in December 2019 to great public acclaim. Three months later the doors closed in the midst of the rising public health emergency.

Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty said she’s confident people will return to using the libraries.

“All our nine locations are open full schedules and we are so excited to be welcoming the public back in,” she said.

In addition to the children’s reading room, the East Forest Park Library has a dedicated area for teenagers, quiet study rooms, dozens of computer stations, a large community meeting room, an outdoor patio, and a reading garden.