Discover the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System

By Mary Heyl

Now that the holidays have come and gone, the long winter months ahead may seem difficult to endure. While heavy snows and freezing temperatures hinder travel and cancel school, many of us become “creatures of the great indoors,” wondering how to make the most of a chilly day. The answer is simple: if you want to feel entertained, inspired and connected right in your own community, visit one of the many member libraries of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System!

“But wait!” one might say. “With all of the technology of 2015, do people even visit libraries anymore?” Not only are libraries still actively involved in their communities, but the 37 member libraries of the CCLS are more relevant than ever. A fine example of this is the Ellicottville Memorial Library on 6499 Maples Rd., which is open every day of the week except Sunday. The EVL Memorial Library hosts a wide selection of children’s, young adult, and adult contemporary fiction and non-fiction, along with thousands of free movies that can be checked out at any time. Director Laura Flanagan also invites visitors to participate in their many regularly scheduled clubs and events.

Looking for a way to enrich the life of your preschooler? Join Terri Steinbar’s “Growing with Music” program, which meets at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and engages children in movement and dance. Also for preschoolers, the library hosts a weekly story time at 11:15 on Wednesdays; each story is accompanied by a craft related to the story! For adults, the EVL Book Club meets in the library’s cozy Fireplace Room on the second Wednesday of every month, and new members are welcome. The January 14 meeting will focus on M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

There’s so much more to the EVL Memorial Library than meets the eye, which is why Flanagan encourages patrons to join one of the many classes held at the library. In October, the library offered a card-making class, and in December, students learned the almost-lost art of tatting. To see these beautiful finished projects, visit EVL Memorial Library’s Facebook page, which is updated regularly and is currently announcing the meetings of the Knitting Club, which meets every Monday at alternating times: 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Upcoming classes for the month of January include a Valentine-making class on January 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Pilates classes on Mondays and Fridays at 9:15 a.m. Call the library at (716) 699-2842 for more information about these programs.

Another library, just 20 minutes from Ellicottville, is the Randolph Free Library at 26 Jamestown St. Like most of the CCLS facilities, the Randolph location boasts a wealth of resources and activities for every member of the family. With nine computers for public use and free WIFI, the library is an ideal work space for community members of all ages. Library Director Ellen Beck encourages patrons to take advantage of the inter-library loan system, a service that every member of the CCLS offers. According to Beck, “If we don’t carry a book you want or our copies are checked out, we can get a copy for you from one of the member libraries in a matter of days.” Another great feature of this two-county library system is the convenience of the library card, which is valid at any member library—no need to get multiple cards!