From the Old to the New — Library Moves into Community
by Nancy Brinkman, children's librarian
It’s been a busy year for the Rolfe Public Library staff and board, planning committee, city administrators, and volunteers, as they planned, raised funds, painted, varnished, constructed, cleaned, packed, and made hundreds of decisions concerning the newest building on Rolfe's main street. At long last, the library end of the new library/city hall/community center is open for business. Many hours or labor and decision making have gone into the construction, finishing, and furnishing of the new library.
The Construction Process
Volunteers painted, stained, varnished, hung the new computer counter, refinished old furnishings, cleaned , scrubbed years of grime from old shelves and table tops, and willingly completed anything the librarians asked of them. Refreshments for volunteers were furnished by various clubs, women’s groups, and helpful patrons. The new shelves, desk, wall divider and other cabinetry was built by Charlie Ahlrich of Ahlrichs Cabinets, Pocahontas. Charlie does beautiful work and was very accommodating, working with the librarians to make adjustments as is sometimes needed with such a project.
Moving the Books
Finally, after much planning and a few nervous jitters, the big days arrived! The saying, "Many hands make light the work" was proven to be very true. Many adult volunteers were in place before 9am both days to get their "marching orders" and procedural instructions for the move. Rolfe Middle School principal, Andy Woiwood generously volunteered the services of PAC 6th, 7th and 8th grade students to move the books. On Wednesday, October 15, nearly seventy 7th and 8th grader students and their teachers formed a human chain to pass books from the old building, where Karen was overseeing the dismanteling, down the block directly into the hands of Bette, who put the books in place. Books were passed hand to hand down the line, a few at a time, keeping them in order to be placed on the new shelves. Thursday another round of volunteers and about forty 6th graders braved the 39 degree chill, most standing outside in a line between the libraries for nearly two hours to complete the task. Cookies and Koolaid were a very small reward for the hours this saved the library staff! A big THANK YOU goes to Mr. Woiwood, who politely refused to return the students to class until the last book was carried into the new building. Thanks to the teachers for giving up class time and standing in line with the students, and of course to the students themselves. They were troupers, chatting, singing, shivering, and reading some of the titles as they passed through their hands. The library staff (and their relatives) wish to thank everyone who helped with this huge, but most important task...moving the books! Without you, some of us would still be walking back and forth between libraries with books in our arms!
Words from the Librarians
Karen Kerns had these comments about the project, "What a rewarding and
fun project to be a part of! For me, it was so depressing to witness half
a city block coming down. Then the months of emptiness, waiting for the
ground to settle, and wondering if the erection of the planned building
would ever begin. Driving though main street was like driving through a
ghost town. And now-WOW! The town seems to have come alive! We don't have
all our furnishings, there are no restrooms, and the front hall is not
finished, and those "wonderful, exciting Gates computers are not installed
yet, but it’s looking more like what we had hoped for- a warm, friendly,
wonderful place to come, visit, browse, read and learn." I can't say
enough about the good people of this community. Everybody I have asked has
been so willing to give of their time and talents. What a wonderful
Saying Thank You
As the children’s librarian, I took it upon myself to write this article to inform the community about the progress and success of the project. As Karen and Bette continue to be busy with final details in preparation to be "open for business", I met with little resistance. Though they would be the first to say this has totally been a community effort, I’ve taken the liberty of mentioning the part these two tireless ladies have played in planning the beautiful interior and operation of our new library. I can say that I’m just a bit younger than either of them, and I’ve been amazed at their energy level and enthusiasm to see this project through to the end!
I know my children will benefit greatly from having such a great library to call their "own". Like many of you, they have many special memories of the old library…Summer Reading Programs, stopping in to visit Grandma Bette at work, browsing for their favorite books and checking out an armload. But they can’t wait to sit in the spacious, new children’s section and read, color, do puzzles, play with the donated train table, visit with friends, check out the latest junior books, or try out the new computers! I’ll be there with them, excited to be able to plan more children’s programming, now that we have the space!
Invitation to Stop By and Visit
Editor's note: We thank Nancy for sending this report that originally was
published in the Pocahontas Record-Democrat. We also look forward to her
sending some photos of the move and will post them so you can see some of
the fun, color, and teamwork of the day.
Painting at top of page by the late Darlene Brinkman, former mayor of Rolfe.