Bill KirbyOnline news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Old library holds special place in hearts

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The richest person in the world -- in fact all the riches in the world -- couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.

-- Malcolm Forbes

It's been a big weekend, opening the new library down on Telfair Street.

Like anything big and new, we look at it and marvel.

Still, the old library across the street was a special place for many of us over the past half-century, including Neina Thompson, of Augusta, who shared this story, which I will share with you.

"Thoughts of the 'old' Greene Street library and Talking Book Center carry me back to the early 1970s," Neina wrote.

"My preschool children and I often visited the large main building. However, the special attraction to the downtown library for us was that its campus also held the Audiovisual Department.

"My son Jamie was born legally blind and later lost his remaining sight. The Audiovisual Department housed the Talking Book Center, with a nice selection for use by the visually impaired.

"The Talking Book Center, as well as the larger library building, became a regular place for us to visit. Not many days went by that my son Jamie did not listen to his talking books. In fact, I am certain he is the main reason many of them are worn out. He would listen to a favorite part over and over by constantly rewinding and starting again. The books and machine traveled with us almost every time we got in the car or RV, whether on a short or long trip.

"People who worked in the Talking Book Center became long-term friends. At one time, Gary Swint , now library director, worked in the Talking Book Center.

"Others, such as Mary Maxwell , June Gay and Audrey Bell were always so friendly and helpful.

"Jamie enjoyed visiting the center to request his favorite Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew books, and especially liked talking to everyone who worked there.

"Jamie became ill last year and died after a brief illness. However, his talking book machine and books went to the hospital with him to provide a familiar comfort."

Thank you, Neina, and thanks to all those folks who worked at the old library over the years. We have created a photo gallery of images of the library and staff from the past 50 years.

Here's hoping the next 50 years will give us as many warm library memories.

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mary dits
mary dits 06/27/10 - 03:39 pm
somebody remind me. why did

somebody remind me. why did we need a new building?

WiseOldMan 06/27/10 - 07:34 pm
Libraries and other material

Libraries and other material places bring back such fond memories of the days when one had to work pretty hard to find the needed information.
Banks, same kinda memory, very nice, usually women who go out of their way to help. The Internet has no personality. Brick and Mortar rules, plus new landscape always brings a fresh look to city.

I have always thought this was a nice song about libraries, it's kind of catchy, too!

Miss Hap
Miss Hap 06/27/10 - 08:57 pm
Mary dits a new library was

Mary dits a new library was necessary because the bums kept complaining about the poor plumbing conditions and the leaky roof.

fcreasy 06/28/10 - 03:09 pm
I have lived to see Augusta

I have lived to see Augusta have three library and each time they are better than the last. I remember the library in the old MCG building. I met Mrs. Lackey & Jean Cochran during Summer story time for children.
Then we moved to Green St. but as time moves on the building was falling down and some items were being runied due to the leaking roof. Other cities had better libraries than Augusta. When some came to Augusta to do research could not do as well as other towns. I am so happy has come into the world of today. I have moved to N Augusta but still viisit the Augusta Library. Great memories are at the Augusta Library.

handoff57 07/01/10 - 07:02 am
I remember Mama taking us

I remember Mama taking us down to the Library for the weekly reader program all summer. It was a trip from waaayy out in Evans back then. we'd go by Woolworths on Broad Street to see Mrs. Elna, (oh no, now you know without a doubt I'm Southern), and maybe get some ice ceam. Then we'd go sit in on a book reading by a wonderful lady who could make you go to some far away place with the story. Then we'd have to go pick out a book to read that week when going home. I remember trying to read it and make it sound in my mind like the lady in the library did. I don't have children, but hope that they still have programs just like that going on. I still remember the smells of the library downtown.

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