Monday, November 28, 2005
Last Wednesday was the final day that the Annie Wittenmyer branch of the Davenport Public Library was open. There was an open house during normal hours, and at 7 they had a farewell ceremony which was sort of a loving roast of the building's deficiencies. Some of the employees even got a little choked up as they each talked about their memories in the old building. It was touching, but I felt somewhat out of place. Ten years ago I would have known most of the people there, but I've slowly become more of a downtown library user than the biweekly branch visitor I was growing up. I have good memories of being careful not to let Dewey the library cat escape when entering the library, or checking out Boxcar Children or Hardy Boys books as a kid. I also thought about the fact that I've never gone into the library via the front door, as I grew up to the west of Annie Wittenmyer.
The staff was quick to point out that the new branch is opening on January 14th with many of the same people working there who worked at Annie Wittenmyer. While it seems like its way over there, its still within 6 miles of the current library. A 15 minute drive isn't too bad, at least for the 2 or 3 years until the new East side branch gets built. I'm curious to see what the city is going to do with the soon-vacant building that has housed the branch for so many years. I also wondered what happened to the aerial view of the neighborhood that they used to have hanging over the Xerox machine. Maybe it will reappear when the new branch is built. I'm thankful to all of the folks who've worked there over the years to provide us with a cozy neighborhood library.