From Jim Barbero’s mural [All photos: David Kramer]
Located between the YMCA and Interstate 490, the Monroe Branch is a cultural hub in its southeast Rochester neighborhood. The gray limestone library building with a terra cotta tile roof, considered a showplace in 1930, is a blend of antique charm and modern technology. As seen in On Dante’s bust on Monroe Avenue, the library abounds with artwork including the sculpted head of the author of the Inferno and the Divine Comedy.
On the walls in the stairwell leading to the downstairs Children’s Room is an elaborate and gorgeous mural history of nearby Pinnacle Hill created by local artist Jim Barbero and includes his poem “Ono´n:ta´ (The Hill).” When first discovering the mural with its images of ancient animals, I felt like the archaeologists who explored the French cave paintings of Grotte de Lascaux, taken back into eons of time.