It’s 9 a.m. on Sept. 2, and as I sit here wondering what today will bring, I see it is only 60 more minutes until our Ashley library opens its doors again. It isn’t that they were closed just for this past three-day Labor Day holiday, they have been closed for the entire month of August! A whole month without getting to use the library down the street is a long time for me. And all this past month I have been waiting while the library has undergone some major redecorating. I have seen some outside painting going on but haven’t gotten to see what all has been going on in the inside.
I had already seen the first big change when I walked over on the last day it was open, which was the last day of July. I thought I would be one of many who would show up that day to get an armful of books to read during August. I had previously brought home 10 DVDs that I kept during the whole time it was closed, but I had failed to get any books. As I went around the corner, I noticed a lot of cars, and a truck, in the parking lot. I thought they must have the same idea that I did. But, when I walked in, it was a shock to see that all the books were gone! I walked through all the rooms and they were as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. Not a book in sight. And, to boot, there were people who were taking the shelving out and loading it in their truck! The emptiness of the rooms reminded me of the many houses my family had moved in and out of while I was growing up. I remember walking through those empty rooms in all those houses and feeling sad because I knew I would never be back there again. But, this was different, because as I walked out the front door, the library staff each called out, “See you in September!”
Well, now it’s September, and I see I have just 40 more minutes until its doors will be open again. What will it be like? Will they have moved the copy machine? Will the check-out desk be changed? Because of the plumbing, my guess is that the restrooms will stay the same. While all the remodeling was going on, everything upstairs had to be taken to the basement. We, the public, had been told that if we really needed something, we could go to the basement door, and we would find the staff working down there.
I see I now I have just 15 more minutes left to “get myself together” and walk over there. I’m sure I won’t be the only one who is anxious to see what I call “another room in my house.” (I have been calling the library “another room in my house” for a very long time now. Having been on the Board of Trustees for 30 years and going through two new additions being built will do that to you. So, as the clock moves faster and faster, now, I’m out of here. I have to take back those 10 DVDs before I get a reminder on e-mail that they are late. (Just kidding.) And, of course, I want to see all the changes inside our newly redecorated Ashley Wornstaff Memorial Library.
If you wonder where the money came from to build our library, it’s because back in 1928, Chesley and Ella Wornstaff, who lived in Ashley, had the foresight to donate their house and all the money necessary to have this library built right here in our small village. They requested that it be “a building of stone and brick.” And, our wonderful library, of stone and brick, still stands after all these past 90 years. It was given by the Wornstaff family to the Village of Ashley, and its surrounding territory, in loving memory of their son, Albertus Wornstaff, who died when he was only in his late 20s.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.