The man they call "the library guy," Paul Clark, returned to the State Capitol Tuesday carrying a simple, happy message: "Thank you."
The 39-year-old father of three put a very human face on the 2010 legislative session through his sheer tenacity. Day after day, Clark stood silently in the Capitol pleading for lawmakers to find $21-million to maintain the level of state support for public libraries.
When lawmakers came through near midnight Monday, Senate budget chief JD Alexander made a passing reference to "that guy" who persisted in getting library money. Clark, who earns about $45,000 a year, had forfeited most of his personal vacation time to push for funding-- including putting in a 12-hour day on Sunday in the Knott Building, where budget negotiations took place.