Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hussey-Mayfield Library Celebrates 20 Years on Fifth Street

Where were you on January 30, 1994?  Perhaps you were a small child or weren’t even born yet.  Maybe you didn’t live in Zionsville then.  Or perhaps you have very strong memories, like mine, of that particular day, when the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library was dedicated at its new Fifth Street location in Zionsville.  I am the only staff member of our Library who worked in the Hussey home library and moved across town to our new facility in 1994 who is still a library employee, and I do remember a lot about that day and the move from our former building to the new one.

During the week of January 10, 1994, the contents of the Library were moved from Lora Hussey’s home at 255 West Hawthorne Street to the new building located at 250 North Fifth Street.  The Library had been located on Hawthorne Street since it opened on August 5, 1962 and was bursting at the seams by the time it came time to relocate in early 1994.  The move was 315 days after construction commenced on the new site.  There were about 25,800 items in the collection, including books and media.  The new library had shelving in place to hold 47,000 collection items.

The dedication and open house of the new library building were held on Sunday, January 30, 1994.  The building was enthusiastically received by the community.  The high school band played the National Anthem while a color guard raised our 3 flags for the first time.  Many people waited outdoors in the cold, not knowing exactly what they were waiting for beyond getting inside to see the beautiful, new library.  

Soon, an antique car arrived in the parking lot carrying a tiny, elderly woman dressed in black with a black hat and veil, who walked into the new Library building, never to be seen again.  It was the symbol of bringing the “spirit” of Miss Lora Hussey with us from her home to the new building that continued to bear her name.  

Many thanks go to the 7-member Library Board of Trustees who worked hard to make the new library a reality:  Meg Julien, Roberta Parks, Bob McKnight, Ken Kuper, George Freije, Mary Grabianowski and Buck Bradley.  The Leasing Corporation also worked diligently to finance the new building; members included:  Joe Cook, Larry Greenwalt, Eleanor Reynolds, John Crisel, Charles Bruess, Kenneth Pennington, and Alma Lathrop.  Martha Catt, the Library Director, who was hired in 1990, was also instrumental in making the new library a reality.

There were several speeches made to a standing-room-only crowd in the new main program room, but I didn’t see that.  I was busy leading the “Library Cheer” with children in the new Children’s Program Room, also to a standing-room-only group.  
We had a face-painting clown, the “Dulcimer Lady” playing her beautiful instrument and staff members were on hand serving as guides as visitors made their way through the 3 floors in the new library building.  We had photos of staff working in the Hussey home library placed in the areas in the new library building where similar tasks would be performed.   

The difference in facility and space was incredible!  Everyone oohed and aahed over the beautiful barrel vault on the second floor and the walnut trim throughout the building.  

Our wonderful Friends of the Library purchased all of the chandeliers that are still burning brightly in the current expanded building.  

We moved from a Victorian house with approximately 1400 sq. ft. of public space to a 25,000 sq. ft. facility on 3 floors.  


 So, today we celebrate 20 years at our Fifth Street location and more than 51 years as a library for the Town of Zionsville.  We added on to the building that opened 20 years ago in 2006, almost doubling its size, as we have striven to meet the needs of our ever increasing enthusiastic population that demands excellent library service.  Happy 20th Anniversary to our beautiful “new” Library!

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