On Tuesday, Jan. 26, of this year, your paper printed a reader’s story about the “joys of the updated Columbia library.” It is a fine library. I don’t believe it has been updated unless you buy into the theory that the previous library building was remodeled. I was absent from Columbia for several years. Returning one winter at Christmas, I drove past the previous library to see a scene reminiscent of an encyclopedia picture of Hiroshima. Our elegant and beautiful library was mercilessly destroyed. How sorry I felt for the citizens who watched it being torn down day-by-day. A library built by the taxes of many a hard-working man or woman. A structure the community took great pride in.
At first, I wanted to refer to the writer, Erin Ash, as a young whippersnapper for trying to make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. She couldn't possibly know that edgy piece of eye candy replaced not a stuffy old box with musty books but an elegant lady. This was an event that made fools out of an entire city. People, this was more than a remodel. Don't blame yourselves, blame the people who constantly told city residents that this would be a remodeling job on the old building. When the entire structure changes as this library did, that's not a remodeling — that's a new building.
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History is piled up usually by many relatively uneventful days. Fortunately, there are not many tragic days such as the one when a decision was made to tear down the ancient 30-year-old hag that was the previous Columbia Library. A fateful event that will possibly cripple the library district for years to come. I plan on writing a more complete recollection. Please help me by sending pro or con letters to the Missourian. This is one part of our local history we need to remember. One that will "live in infamy."
Roger Gadbois is a retired craftsman who is interested in civic affairs. He lives in Boone County.