PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
It is hard to imagine that the Schiappa Branch Library turned 25 years old this year. In my mind, it doesn’t seem that old.
This past summer, the roof of that library was replaced with a galvanized steel roof (no, it is not copper) and many people asked what a new roof was needed on a new building.
I can remember the early days of Schiappa, when we placed a few books on each shelf and tried to stretch them out to make it look like we had more books than we did.
Other area libraries gave us their donated books that weren’t being used, the State Library loaned us books on a long-term basis.
After the first week of operations in February 1987, the shelves looked so sparse from the books being checked out that we were embarrassed to say we were open and this is a new library!
I also remember that the Branch Manager of the Schiappa Library started work the year before the library opened, reporting to work at the Main Library.
She worked in the basement book stacks trying to gather and process books from here and there to fill the shelves of the new library.
Boxes of books were stacked from floor to ceiling in the aisles, ready to be transported when the building was ready to be loaded with books.
She typed labels, cleaned books, and evaluated things for the new collection. She was Schiappa Library’s first employee and had her “touch” on the library’s development and organization.
Her name is Linda Stuller, and she has remained in that position for 26 years, she is the Schiappa Library.
This week Linda bids us a fond farewell, as she retires from the library system.
Her legacy stands at 4141 Mall Drive for all to see and enjoy.
She has brought the library into the age of computers and technology. When the Schiappa Branch opened in 1987, it had a card catalog and a punch system checkout.
She has seen the addition of automated computer services (and several software/hardware upgrades), but her passion has always been Children’s Services, a responsibility that she has held for the whole countywide library system.
When the expansion to the Schiappa building was completed in 1992, I commented that perhaps “that was too much space for the Children’s area,” a light-hearted comment that was quickly corrected by Linda.
Linda and I traveled to Long Island, NY in 1999 to attend training sessions to join our library system into the Family Friendly Libraries, to enhance our programs for children, parents, teachers, and caregivers.
Several LSTA grants later, we are known around the state for providing the tools for parenting, and the use of the public library in childhood literacy.
Linda has made the Schiappa Branch as an example statewide, as it was copied when the new Caldwell Public Library was being designed. The Chillicothe-Ross County Public Library system adapted the model when they designed the service plan for their Northside Branch.
All good things must come to an end, and I wish Linda well as she moves into retirement and will no longer worry about someone calling off work, or the security alarm being triggered in the night, or some strange goo being spilled on the library carpet.
As I always say, a public library doesn’t belong to any one person; it is the culmination of the service provided by all the people who work there over the many years of operation.
Thank you Linda, for placing your fingerprints on the product that we call the Schiappa Branch Library.