A tale of two libraries

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CIZ-ComMondayHussey Mayfield Hawthorne Street

Hussey Library on Hawthorne Street, back in the day. (photo provided by SullivanMunce Cultural Center)

This month my office is not at the southeast corner of the Zionsville Library. Nope, this comes to you direct from a rocking chair on the second floor porch of the Ft. Myers Beach Public Library. I have a bird’s eye view of the sidewalk, with the Gulf of Mexico way out there in the distance. Only a realtor would call this a water view.

Folks keep ducking out on the balcony to take and make cell phone calls. Good citizen that I am, I’m pretending not to hear them. They, in turn, are pretending I don’t exist.

This place is so different in design and so similar in spirit to Hussey-Mayfield.

Same books, same movies, same computers, same small-town feel. Yesterday, I asked about a book I have on hold here.

“Oh, I know that book isn’t back yet,” said the librarian. “I know the person who has it.”   So like Zionsville….

Even with the recent pricey remodeling, this place, at heart, reminds me of the Hussey Library of old. The one on Hawthorne Street, a beautiful white two-story with gingerbreading. That was the only library in town when I arrived on the scene. Upstairs at Hussey were the actual dolls of Lora Hussey herself.  And no Zionsville kid who hoped to get through Eagle Elementary was able to do so without a lecture on Miss Hussey and the great gift of the library she bestowed upon the town.

I may be old, but even I am not old enough to remember Lora Hussey. I do remember Mary Mayfield and her husband, Jim. They were such gentle people and such advocates for the Village.  The town is so blessed to have had Miss Hussey and the Mayfields.

Still, it’s fun to remember that somehow the village literates were served without computers, without cell phones, without iPads, iPhones, and GKW. And it’s fun to see the varied uses of new technology.

My son, now a 40-something Zionsville parent, uses his iPhone to call his kids on their cell phones. He uses his GPS feature to see whether they’re really where they say they are.

My own grandkids, busted by technology…


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