June 8, 2001 – Inside and out, top to bottom, none of the staff can quite remember the last time such a concerted effort was made to upgrade the Enid M. Baa Public Library and its archives. Much has been accomplished, and more is in the works.
The library was closed for the last 10 days of May for staff and other personnel to tackle the lion's share of the heavy work. Literally tons of unwanted books, some not checked-out since the 1960s, were removed from the general circulation stacks to make way for incoming boxes of new arrivals. In the Von Scholten Collection of priceless historical materials, brand new archival shelving now holds more than 1,500 additional books that hitherto had been stored away, unreachable and in danger of damage.
Access to the library building itself has been improved. The Main Street entrance archway is freshly painted. The Back Street entrance courtyard has undergone a major pruning of the existing plantings, and dozens of new flowering shrubs have been added.
The work is continuing to make room for the recently ordered new books that are arriving in a steady stream. Since the library reopened on June 1, some of the work of reshelving books has shifted downstairs to the children's reading room, which is closed until school lets out each day. So far, at least five boxes of new children's books and videotapes have replaced those carefully weeded out of the stacks.
Three daily newspapers and 59 magazines are currently available in the periodicals section. Ten computer terminals connected to the Internet, donated by Vitelco (now Innovative Telephone) a couple of years ago, provide public access to the world-wide web — including The Source online local newspapers. A full-sized copy machine is up and running on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Overseeing the work are Simon Caines, the coordinator for libraries, and his supervisor, Claudette Lewis, assistant commissioner of Planning and Natural Resources responsible for its Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums. According to both, all the credit for the recent Baa Library improvements goes to the small library staff.
"Four library aides, one retired librarian volunteer, two photo-duplication operators and our new maintenance man are responsible for all the changes," Caines said. He was referring to library technicians Wanda Aubain, Audrey Muriel, Blanche Penn and Beverley Smith; retired librarian and volunteer Ellen MacLean; photo-duplication operators Kenneth Thomas and Anselmo Riera; and maintenance worker Kent Meyers.
"We have a job opening for a trained librarian," Lewis stated, "but in the meantime, all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you to our present staff."
In addition to having the opportunity to see the changes during regular library hours – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays — the public is invited to attend an open house hosted by the The Friends of the St. Thomas Libraries this Saturday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tours of the building, including the Von Scholten Collection area and the third-floor duplication facilities, which are normally off limits to the general public, will be a part of the evening’s offerings, as will discussion of plans for a possible new library in the Anna’s Retreat area.
For additional details, see earlier Source story "Special hours for special event".


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here