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You can’t keep a good library down

Just when it seems that things can’t get worse, they do. And, then, just when it seems the situation is hopeless, incredible people rally together and it somehow all works out.

Such has been the case with the ongoing saga of the heating and cooling system at Armstrong Library. Less than a year ago, the system was reconditioned after much wrangling and more than a little badgering by our intrepid Director, Susan Cassagne.

Then as we went into our sweltering summer heat, the system went down again, proving the old adage of “do it right the first time.” Thanks to Mayor Brown for his quick action to make sure that the situation was remedied quickly this time.

As the library staff assessed temporary options, none seemed good: Close completely, move to another city building or rent very expensive emergency equipment.

The decision was made to recreate the library in a mini-fashion in areas that could be cooled. The staff jumped in, cleaned up the staff office/storage area and turned it into an area that reminded me of the Book-Mobile of my childhood. Computers were moved into the Tillman reading room for Internet access. Librarians were available to go into closed areas for patron requests. The library was up and running and people were grateful.

As a member of Friends of the Library, I have always admired and appreciated the dedication of the staff, but when I went in one afternoon, I saw just how special these folks are and how much the library is used.

The rooms were packed. Computers were being used. Research was being done. Books were being checked out. Requests for special items were being handled.

Most heart-warming for me was watching librarians and patrons interact with good humor and patience. Everyone was just grateful that our community library was functioning.

A huge thanks to all library staff for their ingenuity and hard work, to the library patrons who took it all in stride, to the city, especially Mayor Butch Brown, for a commitment to getting it right this time.


Maria Bowser is President of the Friends of the Library Board.