Posts Tagged ‘Success Stories’

Mapping Out History

Though we typically post humorous stories, Merry recognizes that the stories librarians often value most are the success stories. Like all professionals, we revel in moments when we know, without a doubt, that we are not only in the right profession, but we are also great at what we do. This week’s Story of the Week was sent in from one of our faithful readers who wanted to share an example of an interaction within the library that led to a patron’s personal success outside of it. For those of you who have been working in libraries for a long time, we know you will have similar success stories to share! And for all our young and up-and-coming librarian readers, we wish you a future full of similarly rewarding interactions!

I worked in a geology library, and we often get genealogical patrons looking for old maps. In this case, a patron was looking for an old company or mill town in North Carolina, that was abandoned by 1910. One of his ancestors was buried there, and he wanted to find the grave.

We were able to find an old USGS map of the region from 1890s, that showed the town and the layout of the major buildings. However, when the patron got there, all he could see was a wide field with hip high brown grasses. All the wooden buildings had long ago turned into the dirt underneath. Although he had the map in his hand, he could not get his bearings of where the buildings were, or even find the streets.

As he was scratching his head in puzzlement, he noticed a bit of bright color. Walking over to it, he found a bright rose bush, alone in the field. However, looking more closely around, he saw other roses, and realized the wives of the mill workers had planted the rose bushes near their front doors, in order to bring some color to an otherwise dreary mill town. Almost a hundred years after the buildings built by men had collapsed into dust, the roses planted by the women were still blooming, and still bringing color to an otherwise featureless field.

Going between the rose bushes, the patron was able to get the first of the street directions straight in his head, and then could figure out from the map where the cemetery was, and still is.

Even more interestingly, he came back to the library, and told me of his successful adventure into the past.


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Attention! The Merry Librarian is looking for stories to feature in an upcoming theme-based series. If you have any true stories about weddings or wedding photography taking place in your library, send them in! Your story could be published on our site! Email us at!

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