Thirty years ago today

September 26, 1983 - September 26, 2013

The date September 26th has been stuck in my brain for 30 years. It has now been that long since the construction of our current library building began. At that time the library was housed in a much smaller building that included our original 1910 structure (which still forms the front of the library) and a 1957 addition that needed to be torn down. That obviously meant that we had to move the library during the entire construction period, which lasted a year and a half.

We moved to a very small space in the back of Stickney Terrace, past where the Post Office is now, and also had a rented trailer out in the parking lot. To accomplish the move I came up with the 'bright' idea of asking our library patrons to check out as many books as possible and return them to the new library. It worked like a charm, and over the course of a few weeks the people of Hampton, and even neighboring libraries, checked out half of our collection. The problem with this idea was that when they were returned they all had to be reshelved! And they were not in any kind of order, as they would have been had we just removed them in order from their shelves and moved them that way.

So what is the significance of September 26th? We used orange date due index cards in those days, and that date was stamped on the cards in every one of the books that we checked out for the move. So as you can probably imagine, September 26th was a busy day for the library staff! We not only had to deal with setting up in a new location, we now had literally thousands of books that had to be reshelved. Our book drop was overflowing. One fun fact - the first book put in our book drop in our new location was Charles Dickens' "Bleak House," which pretty aptly described our new quarters. When we moved into our wonderful new building in the Spring of 1985 we were excited to find out what would be the first book put into our new book drop. Well, as the only male on the library staff at the time, I was less-then-thrilled that it was a book titled "Superior women."

The library on moving day, 1983The inside of the old library on moving day, September 6, 1983. Here
Joan Kahl is standing behind our circulation desk after all the remaining books
had been packed into boxes. We made several trips to the liquor
store to get all these boxes, and library patrons brought us many more.

Groundbreaking ceremonies
Groundbreaking ceremonies, September 23, 1983. The tall gentleman with the
hat standing in back is Wheaton Lane, last surviving male member of
the branch of the Lane family after whom the library is named.

Demolition day
Demolition day for the old 1957 addition, October 3, 1983. For these photos and
many more showing the construction phase of the library, browse the photos here.

The library in temporary quarters
A view of the inside of our temporary quarters on Stickney Terrace in the winter of 1984.

Blog Sections: