Quick post this week, celebrating my local Library. The Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown MA.

As a matter of fact, I just finished up the Library 2024 Summer Reading program Tee-shirt. One of many I have done through the years. (More about that in a second.) The theme this year was ‘READ, RENEW, REPEAT’.

Belchertown is a haven for roaming gangs of Squirrels, And my lovely wife Teresa suggested I make one the star.  After all, squirrels know a thing or two about planting seeds and trees.

The Clapp is a picturesque old New England library, first opening it’s doors in 1887! Generously donated to the town by the result of a bequest from Belchertown native John Francis Clapp.

The building is a Romanesque revival celebration, and drop dead gorgeous.

The sort of place do home-work at- if you were going to wizardry school! From its rough cut brownstone exterior to it’s red tiled roof, it exudes character. The perfect framework for the stunning stained glass windows. One portraying Saint Cecilia, patroness of music. No shocker I love the musical theme, and music has been a star element of many of my designs.

You just know this building has a world of stories to tell in addition to all the stories on the shelves. And as a matter of fact, it is thought by many to be haunted. So haunted, that the TV show Ghost Hunters filmed an episode there!


My Daughter Sarah, who is now 21, has been going there since before she could read! Librarian, Jennifer Whitehead is one of the best there could be, and has always created fabulous programs for the children in town. Beyond that, Teresa has contributed to the murals inside. I also did oe of my very first book events there. So my attachments run deep for the Clapp. And for the past 9 years, it has been my honor (and a true treat) to create the Tee-shirt designs for the iREAD Summer Reading Program for the Clapp.

I look forward to it each year as a way to get out of whatever art box I am currently in, and try something different than the style of painting I am mostly known for. They are designed to be silk screen shirts, and I try to keep it to 4-colors, plus the color of the shirt. This limitation, is perhaps the thing I like best about creating them. It takes a certain clarity of thought to pull it off. And I feel like after I do one, I think clearer about my more involved paintings that follow.

There is a new theme for each year, and to my delight, Librarian, Jenifer Whitehead really lets me follow my bliss interpreting the prompt. So here we go, the other 8 years of designs!

And here is the great thing. You too could probably do this for your local library Summer reading program.

In the opening address for the Clapp, Dwight Clapp reminded his listeners to “do what little we can in our day to make life in this old hill town of New England richer and broader, higher and nobler, sweeter and purer, to generations which come after us.”

Give it a go! It is a great way to flex your skills, and give back to the community you live in. Heck who knows if we’d even be doing art were it not for home town libraries we grew up in!