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Around Florence: Friends group to celebrate Lilly Library’s founder, benefactor

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>The Friends of Lilly Library group is planning a series of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lilly, founder of Lilly Library, and prominent member of the Florence community. Events include a celebration  of his birthday set for Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the library.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    The Friends of Lilly Library group is planning a series of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lilly, founder of Lilly Library, and prominent member of the Florence community. Events include a celebration of his birthday set for Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the library. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alfred T. Lilly, who donated books, money, and land to start the Lilly Library, will be celebrated this weekend at the library.

    Alfred T. Lilly, who donated books, money, and land to start the Lilly Library, will be celebrated this weekend at the library. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>The Friends of Lilly Library group is planning a series of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lilly, founder of Lilly Library, and prominent member of the Florence community. Events include a celebration  of his birthday set for Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the library.
  • Alfred T. Lilly, who donated books, money, and land to start the Lilly Library, will be celebrated this weekend at the library.

FLORENCE - In the 1800s, Alfred T. Lilly donated 400 books from his personal collection to an effort to start a library in Florence that would later be known as Lilly Library. He also gave the land the library now sits on and $17,500 to cover the cost of additional books and construction.

Lilly never saw his dream brought to fruition. He died Jan. 21, 1890, before the opening of the library on May 7 that year.

Today, the picturesque library near Florence center still holds about 50 books from Lilly’s personal collection that survived over the years and were restored by a bookbinding company in Cambridge.

April 28, in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth on April 15, 1813, Lilly will be recognized at a celebration of his life and work at the library. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Lilly Library.

Lilly has some pretty big Florence creds — in addition to founding the library, he was the first president of Florence Savings Bank, superintendent of the Nonotuck Silk Co., and director of the Florence Furniture Co.

A selection of Lilly’s books will be dedicated in the upstairs section of the library during the celebration.

The party is scheduled Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. The dedication is scheduled for 2:15, with a party with cake and soft drinks in the community room to follow.

•••

Children’s music show

Children’s music composer, educator and performer Mariana Iranzi will perform at the Cup and Top Cafe Wednesday at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Iranzi, a native of Argentina and a Berklee College of Music graduate is a singer, bassist, guitarist and percussionist who started playing music when she was about 7.

The show is being billed as “bilingual music for children.”

In a telephone interview, Iranzi said music is an ideal medium for communication, especially for children.

She said children who haven’t started developing their own vocabularies yet or who don’t speak another language can still pick up on the emotions and concepts conveyed through music.

At the very least, it’s an attention getter, she said.

Usually there’s a small amount of commotion before her performances begin, while parents settle their kids and those kids are exploring the space.

“When I pick up my guitar and start tuning it,” she said. “The room goes silent.”

Iranzi, 34, said performing in Florence is a nice change from Boston where she does the majority of her appearances.

Her first album, “Aventura Collage” was released in 2008. Her latest, “Hola Hello” was released earlier this year.

She said she still plays bass in other bands and may consider working on an album geared solely toward adults, but right now her family music takes up all of her time.

Iranzi said between the writing, recording, promotion and touring, all of which she does herself, there’s little time to consider branching out into other projects right now.

“I really enjoy playing for kids,” she said.

•••

Plant sale set

With May flowers hoped for following April showers, it may be a good time to stock up on some photosynthesizing friends.

Florence Congregational Church hosts its plant sale Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The plants will come from local gardens of church members and friends.

Plants for sale will include perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees and vegetables with most expected to fetch between $3 and $6.

In addition to the plant sale there will be a tag sale, hot dog lunch and a bake sale.

Donations of plants will also be accepted.

Florence Congregational Church is located at 130 Pine Street.

For more information call 413-584-1325 or 413-587-0327.

Gazette writer Bob Dunn writes a monthly column about Florence. To submit items, send to bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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