Wood carving of Waverly library in 1976

Ryan Coffie, son of columnist Patricia Coffie, drew this picture of the building that served as the Waverly Public Library in 1976 when the Coffies came to town.

Recently, I needed help determining if my brand new computer equipment could create a presentation that could be used on the Library’s projection equipment. Yes but…

I needed to download the PowerPoint program for my equipment (I had been using Keynote) then save it to a thumb drive for use plugged in to the library’s equipment. Did that but didn’t work on library equipment. Still, having begun a few days early to be sure what would work, I had time to work and strategize with Lindsey.

By sending the PowerPoint and then also a PDF file, the presentation worked with the PDF. I was ready and I have library staff to thank for this manipulation and technological advice.

Kathy allowed me to bring items for display and Kris put the display together for the presentation on “Ice.” I asked to bring items early because of dental work coming up before the program.

History Camp Iowa was Nov. 13. I presented Bricks and Coal Mines. My family had two brickworks plants in 1898 and later. My great-great-uncle was the only person killed in the horrific explosion at the Christy Coal Mine. Family, the brickworks and the explosion at the coal mine come together in stories and documents. I had the perfect document for the explosion but left it with my 92 year old Aunt so needed another copy.

The Waverly Public Library not only has the electronic archives for Iowa newspapers but had two librarians, Zack and Trevor, on staff to help me find the article, format it for reading on an 11-by-17 page at their copier, and send it to my home email. This took longer than any of us thought but the librarian stayed extra to finish helping me.

On my brand new and super computer, I had the security and privacy settings on high. That prevented me from sharing this PowerPoint until two of the planners at History Camp worked with me to open the settings. We were all a bit flustered but worked the technology out and I was able to present but once again, real live people helped with my technology problems.

I’m all through with new computers for me — I hope.

Long ago, long long ago, I assisted with the children’s programming at the library even though I was the Director. I did a bang up job with budgets and spreadsheets but needed and wanted the joy of working with puppetry and storytelling in the children’s services.

I appreciate the patience and acceptance of our new children’s services librarian, Emily, as I offered an electronic copy of 52 Favorites for Storytime by the previous children’s services librarian and offered two sets of puppets to be used with the children — Little White Duck and Swinging on a Star. I know Emily has the services well covered but enjoyed her willingness to allow me the joy of revisiting past times of joy.

The Bremer County Genealogical Society arranged a meeting when, as a group, we could receive some instruction on the research items available through the computers. Many thanks for that walk through by Bethany from the library reference staff.

For one of my stories, I needed page 398 from a technical document and feared I would have to borrow the whole thing but library staff used online reference to obtain a copy of that one page for me.

In the historic photographs, there was one I wanted for an overview of that Carnegie Building. It is still standing inside the Investment Company offices across from Fareway. The original building has been dug under, additioned around, and roofed over but it is still there. My son carved a picture of the library as it looked when we came in 1976. Ryan, on library staff, found an actual photograph of how it looked in 1976 and emailed it to me.

Now I have not named all employees who helped with my information and technology needs in this busy time — some work behind the scenes inside and outside and some will be there to help with next needs.

How sweet it is to have the public’s library with excellent staffing right here in Waverly.

Patricia Coffie is a storyteller and retired director of the Waverly Public Library living in Waverly. She can be reached at maemaude@me.com.