Former librarian raising money for local libraries through calendar sales

  • Priscilla White-Tocker has created a calendar to raise money for local libraries. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Priscilla White-Tocker has created a calendar to raise money for local libraries. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2019 6:17:55 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Though Priscilla White-Tocker was a librarian for more than 20 years in the Boston area, her childhood dream was to be a librarian at a small library in the country.

Her dream is not one that became reality, having changed careers about 20 years ago. However, that hasn’t stopped the Shelburne Falls resident from loving libraries and doing what she can to support them.

For the second year now, White-Tocker is selling a calendar featuring photographs she took of local libraries. Proceeds will benefit Cushman Library in Bernardston, Warwick Free Public Library and the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls, where White-Tocker serves on the board of trustees.

“I wanted to raise public awareness about our libraries,” she said. “I also wanted to tell the story of how my love of libraries and of Western Massachusetts inspired this project.”

The Warwick and Arms libraries have copies of the 2020 calendars, which are being sold for $16. White-Tocker said she’ll keep enough money from the sales to cover her costs, and the libraries will receive 25 percent. Those who purchase a calendar can choose which library they want the proceeds to go to.

She said she’d like to make the calendar sales an annual occurrence for years to come. Embarking on the project gave White-Tocker — who moved to Shelburne Falls in 2016 with her husband, Michael — an impetus to explore parts of the Pioneer Valley she hadn’t yet seen.

“I am not a professional photographer, but I have loved exploring this beautiful region and found myself wanting to undertake the project of photographing all of the public libraries in Western Mass.,” she said. “For me, this was the perfect way to thoroughly explore the area and visit towns that I was not at all familiar with after living my entire life in the Boston area.”

In late October of last year, she decided to take some of her photos and create an 8-inch-by-10-inch monthly calendar for 2019 titled “Tiny Libraries of Western Mass.,” which featured photos of 13 standalone public library buildings, including six from Franklin County, that are 1,500 square feet or less. She contacted all of the libraries featured and offered them the opportunity to sell the calendars as fundraisers for themselves, and many took advantage of the opportunity. Several hundred dollars was raised from sales of the 2019 calendars, she said.

This year, White-Tocker said she decided to get a much earlier start with creating a new calendar. The theme for the 2020 calendar is “Public Libraries of Western Massachusetts: A Photographer’s Sampler of Favorites.” It is the same style and format as last year’s calendar, but for this one she chose photos of 12 standalone public library buildings that particularly “spoke” to her, and that represented a variety of architectural styles, with an emphasis on libraries in smaller Western Massachusetts towns.

For more information or to purchase a calendar, email White-Tocker at:

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or


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