Saturday, March 23, 2013
Beyond Willard Library's Ghosts
Everybody asks the hard-working folks at Willard Public Library, in Evansville, Indiana, about the supernatural activities there. My crack team of minion journalists ("Flat" Cauli VI, or Flat Six for short; the Lady With the Red Hair; and Scowl-Face) really wanted to learn more about Willard's "ordinary" library services. Before ol' Scowlly's encounter with the vanishing green figure, my team took some preliminary photos at the library entrance. (Click here to see the library exterior. And again here. One more time.) As always, click the images below to bigify.
"Flat" Cauli VI hams it up for the camera
by the historical marker outside Willard's entrance
The Lady With the Red Hair helps Flat Six
stand tall outside Willard's entrance
My group first explored the basement and Willard's children's department. The environment was cozy--the stacks made you feel as if caring arms surrounded you--and there was an intimacy in the environs that made you feel comfortable and safe. We're guessing that this effect was by design, and it's an ingenious touch. There was a separate area with built-in riser (i.e., stair-step) seating that afforded both a playful and engaging interactive space for young children.
Floor-to-ceiling shelving puts protective "arms" around
a child-sized table in Willard's children's department
Built-in, carpeted riser seats
create a safe, relaxed reading space
My favorite book on display
Beautiful miniature playhouse also on display
in Willard's children's department
Following Scowl-Face's possibly paranormal encounter in the basement restroom, my minions visited the main floor, which houses Willard's adult services department. There they discovered an egg tree, which especially appealed to Flat Six (she's fond of eggs).
Willard Egg Tree
in adult services area
Willard Adult Services Desk
Some stacks in Willard's adult collections
(Egg Tree, too)
There are several impressive portraits and artwork hanging upon the walls throughout the library. We didn't take too many pictures of these, as flash photography can damage sensitive paintings. Here's one from the second floor's special collections department.
Library Founder Willard Carpenter
(in delightful stained glass)
watches, ever-vigilant, high above activities
on the second floor below
The second floor also houses Willard's genealogy, local history, and archival departments. This particularly intrigued Scowl-Face, who once was MPL Indiana Room librarian (and has a blog to show for it). He was practically beside himself when he discovered original bound editions of Sanborn maps for Evansville. He carefully examined the 1910 maps.
Priceless historical details about Evansville's
buildings & their uses in 1910
Flat Six saw some interesting historical furniture adjacent to patron reading tables in the special collections area.
Also on the second floor is the meeting room, which exudes authority amidst quiet dignity. Many were the landmark discussions held here, shaping the library's services since its doors opened to the public in 1885. At least, that's the feeling Flat Six and my minions experienced.
The magnificent ornate staircase connects Willard's three levels. Flat Six wanted to slide down the banisters, but the Lady With the Red Hair intervened. Safety first, Flat Six.
Experience Willard Library for yourselves when you visit Evansville (you know you want to). Did you know that Indiana residents may obtain a Willard library card free-of-charge? Now you do.
Visit Willard's website for more information about the library.
Your Roving Reporter On The Go,
Cauli Le Chat
P.S. WTIU-Channel 30, a PBS affiliate at Indiana University-Bloomington, presented a brief (12-minute) film about Willard Public Library's history in 2012. Nicely done!