Library may be tiny, but its founder thinks big


The Chicago Tribune Has One on Helen Myers, who started a library in a wisp of a town in the remote region of Illinois known as "Forgottonia" by hauling her own books to a building with little more room than a back-yard shed. She maintained the Ellisville Library, all 140 square feet of it, by selling sugar cookies shaped like Fulton County and souvenir plastic bags of slag from a nearby shuttered coal mine, through book sales and yard sales--and by donating thousands of dollars.

But the smallest library in Illinois wore out. Over the years its floors rotted and Myers worried it would collapse. She decided that this town of 85 people on the banks of the Spoon River 45 miles west of Peoria--the same Spoon River immortalized by writer Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology"--needed a new library.

Now, she is making final preparations for the official opening of the new library, still the state's smallest but twice the size of the old one and wrapped in bright white vinyl siding with green trim. An open house is set for Oct. 26.
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Similar to the library bus topic a week ago, this sounds like a fun early retirement opportunity, and definitely a wonderful community service. I read this article after returning home late to Chicago on Sunday, and I could see doing something like this someday. Although I'd probably want it to have an espresso bar inside to keep me wired.