Francisco Family Adventure Pt. 2 - Newton Public Library

posted on: March 14, 2013

Not many libraries are open on Sundays.  However, the Newton Free Library is not only open, it's packed with people scouring shelves for something new to read or a DVD to check out, study cubbies full of people writing or working on laptops, people sitting in lounges reading magazines and newspapers, and even families sitting in the dark theatre watching a free Sunday afternoon movie.  This was the first Massachusetts library I've seen that reminds me of the modern amenities I found in the public libraries in Brisbane, Australia.

Graphic Novel Section of Library

Mom and Daughter at Library

Visiting libraries is a regular adventure for the Francisco family.  At the age of 11, Hannah still identifies with the children's section in the library, and prefers adventure and mystery books that take her to far off places and beef up her wit and mystery solving mind.  She wants to be the first female to play on the New England Patriots and she's already started working toward her goal by playing quarterback whenever she gets a chance to play football.  She's still open to her mom's suggestions in books and she loves when her grandmother sings "like an opera singer" to her favorite country songs.

Girl in library

Grandma holding kids books

When I set out to photograph a family adventure, I never know what I'm going to get or what photographic opportunities I'll have or not have in each space.  That's actually part of the fun for me - the challenge of finding good light, an interesting background, and the right moment all while not stopping the action or controlling the scene.  This is part of what I love about wedding and event photography as well- the creative challenge of great images within whatever conditions exists.  

Library Reference Desk Question

With limited time in her schedule to read, Rhoda was interested in finding a particular book, while Hannah was in the acquisition phase of building her personal collection of as many bookmarks as she could find.  One was even a sticker for the Sierra Club.

Picking up free bookmarks

Family at library

While Rhoda searched for a particular book, Rose and Hannah were happy to browse and pick up whatever they found.  I saw the opportunity to get a great shot that would combine the beautiful architecture of the atrium with the three generations of ladies- so Hannah and I went upstairs for a test shot.  Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that including both the grand architecture and a shot of them filling the windows was not going to work out- as you can hardly see Hannah waving from the middle window across the room. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't, but it never hurts to try. ;-)

Newton Free Public Library Atrium

What did work, was hanging out with Hannah for a bit and catching her in this short candid moment when she was watching her mom below while resting her head on the stack of books she had already acquired.

Girl resting head on books

Hannah's second favorite section is the movie section, where she's careful about selecting movies that are PG, or asking her mom for permission to watch PG-13 movies. 

Picking out DVDs at Library

Book sale

Little did I know, Rhoda, Hannah, and Rose were hoping to surprise me with a gift of books from the library book sale racks. ;-)  I ended up with three lovely books from our adventure together!  I love this hint of expression with daughter telling mom how cool or uncool things are as she develops her own opinions about the world as she knows it.

Browsing used books

Even though a family adventure is about creating a candid moments of life as it is right now, I always want to make sure that I get at least one image with everyone looking at the camera- because that's important too. ;-)



Not wanting our adventure to end... Hannah lingered in the snow and had a few more moments that reflect her love of play, silliness, and adventure.  I'm so grateful that we got to spend this afternoon together- they such are an inspiring little family with big hearts and joyful generosity.


Even if you can't have me follow you around for a day taking pictures of your little slices of life, I hope that my appreciation of these small ordinary moments will help you see the beauty in your own life.  As simple or complex as it may be, never forget to stop and appreciate everything just as it is, right now.  Life changes quickly, but we can save ourselves from regret by stopping to acknowledge the love and beauty that is already present in our current reality.  Celebrate life as it is right now, not when or if it reaches some ideal.  As Rhoda wrote in her letter to Hannah, "Weird is Wonderful."


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