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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Library Patron Appreciation Day, open house held

  • Rolla Public Library patrons enjoyed a free hot-dog cookout Saturday afternoon, and plaques were given to two men who played major roles in the addition of the children's library and the remodeling of the main library.
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  • Rolla Public Library patrons enjoyed a free hot-dog cookout Saturday afternoon, and plaques were given to two men who played major roles in the addition of the children's library and the remodeling of the main library.
    "We appreciate you and want you to have the best library possible so that we can serve you and everyone in the area," said Bill Hickle, president of the library board of trustees. "The goal of the library is to encourage a love of reading and learning at all ages."
    After introductions of the staff, board and members of the Friends of the Library, Hickle singled out Larry Bowen and Robert Davis for special recognition.
    Bowen, owner of The Readers Corner bookstore across the street from the library, started working with the library as an active member of the Friends organization for 11 years. He was appointed to the board of trustees in 2001 and served three three-year terms, the last three years as president.
    During his years as president, the library bought the property next door and converted it to the Leola Millar Children's Library.
    "Larry was more than board president. He is a skilled carpenter and contractor and he used those skills to help the library," Hickle said. At no cost, Bowen helped oversee the remodeling project, giving advice based on his construction experience. "He devoted 20 years in service to the library, and for that we are grateful," Hickle said.
    Noting the library was built in 1913 as the post office, Hickle said it became the library in the mid-1960s. The last time it was remodeled was 30 ears ago.
    After the children's library addition was complete, the library board turned to a remodeling project for the main building, seeking the help of the city.
    "About the time the project started, our former library director left to take employment out of state," Hickle said.
    The board asked Davis, retired dean of the School of Engineering at Missouri S&T, to serve as interim director. He agreed to do so if he could do it without pay. The board agreed.
    Davis served for six months, overseeing both the daily operations of the library and the remodeling project.
    Hickle said Davis had exactly the set of skills the library needed at that time and is an excellent example of "servant-leadership."
    In his remarks, Davis said that period opened his eyes about the work behind-the-scenes at the library. He said his appreciation for the library staff has grown, as has his appreciation for the library board and the Friends.
    Hickle also introduced Cathy Smith, library director since June.
    Smith was the librarian at Mark Twain Elementary School for five years before she took the city library job. Before that, she had 27 years experience as teacher and professional educator. She won many awards. Three times she was named the local district's most Positive Educator. She was the Rolla Teacher of the year in 2006 and was the Rolla district's nominee for Missouri Teacher of the Year.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hickle also introduced the staff members; Kristin Strandberg, Willa McCord, Erin Cook, Suzanne Wilson, Stephanie Chinn, Sheena Adams, Tisha Johnson, Julie Kearn and Liz Grahl.
    He introduced library board members: Don Priest, Geri Armaly, Ruth Stoecker, Helen Hoertel and Ralph Alexander. He acknowledged the members of the Friends, including Ralph Alexander, the president.
    "Their mission is to support and improve the library," Hickle said. The Friends hold regular book sales and donate the proceeds to the library.
    Also during the Patron Appreciation Day event, hot dogs, beverages and popcorn were available outside.
    Inside, patrons received gift bags and were given the opportunity to complete a survey about library service.
    They entered their names for a door prize.
    Authors were present to sign books.
    Staff members gave tours and explained the remodeling to patrons who requested it.

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