Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana
My First Love
I was always encouraged to read, especially by my Daddy who read to me as a little girl and encouraged me to find the words he read. I began reading simple books when I was three-years-old, the usual Dick, Jane and Spot kind of books. I loved the feeling of the paper on my fingers, loved the smell of books, and began to love where books could take me. Then when I was around six-years-old, someone told my Mom that the library in Willard Park had a children’s room, where a child could just sit and read as long as they wanted. It was in the basement of the adult Willard Library, and had a separate entrance so you didn’t have to worry about being trampled by the “big people.” I was enchanted that this room was especially for children like me, and spent many happy hours there, reading everything I could get my hands on. Willard Library was my first love.
The Children’s Room – Scene of Frequent Hauntings
The Children’s Room
A special atmosphere
Bookshelves in the Children’s Room were built to scale for children to reach the books. You could browse the bookshelves, always being careful to return the books to the exact spot you found them if you didn’t take them to a table to read. The floor in some areas was uneven brick flooring, but walls and bookshelves were painted in a cheery yellow and white. There was always a helpful librarian there if you couldn’t reach or couldn’t find a particular book. Children in those days of the 1940s were very polite and considerate of those around them. We had been taught to be “seen, but not heard,” so the library was quiet. There was no air conditioning needed in the Children’s Room, because its basement location kept it always cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Little did I know then that there was another phenomenon that kept the Children’s Room cool. I didn’t know until I grew up that there was a spirit there known as the Grey Lady Ghost.
How Willard Library Began… – …And How Was It Named?