Tuesday, April 10, 2007


It's funny how we attach the emotions of our pasts to physical objects and places. As most of you probably know, we moved out of a 105 year old building into our new space about four years ago, a move that was decades overdue. Since then, the city of Kankakee has been gathering the money required to rehab the old library into a public facility that will house the Mayor's office, aldermanic offices and other municipal governmental agencies. Saturday, the architect working on our former home gave some of us an opportunity to see what has been accomplished so far. What we saw was...well...shocking. The old Library has been gutted down to its exterior walls in most places. Walls, ceilings, even floors are gone. Photos I was stunned at how a place I'd spent every work day of seven years could be rendered nearly unrecognizable to me. For months after we moved, I made pilgrimages to the old vacated Library to get this or that item we'd left behind. Since the space still looked exactly as it did when we left, I could still hear the ghostly voices of those long gone librarians and patrons who had occupied that space for more than a century. Indiana Ave. Tour It was satisfying to have all the comfort and excitement of our new building, but to know that the old one was still there, like a mausoleum interring my past. Now, those ghosts have been completely and thoroughly chased out. And I know this is a good thing. The old building will have a new and vital purpose in our city, and the spirit of our Library has taken its last step into its current beautiful location. Library Tour But, I can't help feeling just a little sad.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm amazed by how big the gutted front part of the old library looks in that photo - I'm sitting here remembering what it felt like to sit at my desk there and the scene from Star Wars where Luke, Leia, Han Solo and Chewie are in the trash compactor with the walls closing in on them is all I can picture. Everyday I came in, I think another 6 inches of floor was being occupied by a new (or ahem...old) object!

All kidding aside, I do look back fondly on my days at Indiana Avenue. It was and is a lovely building with exquisite architectural features. I used to imagine the ghosts of librians past coming to life as we closed down for the night. Now, as you said, those ghosts are all chased away. I hope our librarian ancestors long gone would be proud of where we are now and what we're doing. I know that I'm proud of them. Rest in Peace, Old Library Ghosts.

April 11, 2007 6:58 PM  

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