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A new addition to the Epworth Manor Library

What started out as a small one room library in the basement of Epworth Manor has now expanded into a larger facility on the first floor with easy accessibility for the residents. The founders of the library Ray and Ann Clark managed to salvage 45 books to open back in 1999, and today the library has grown to more than 600 books.
“We started out in the basement. There was a library down in the basement where the laundry room is, and it hadn’t been used in about 20 years,” said Ann Clark. “We started out with 45 books that we were able to save. We started out getting books from different nursing homes on loan, and then I had to bring them back. That’s how we got started.”
After a year, the library was moved from the basement to the first floor. The library is not included in the Epworth Manor budget, and so it is funded purely by donations and largely by the Epworth Manor Auxiliary. Also, Clark needs to buy large print books for the residents to be able to see the print, and those types of books are more expensive. She tries to buy at least four large print books a month for the library.
“I get the books from going out and asking for donations money wise, or if books are in good condition, they can donate that,” said Clark.
Since the library has moved to the first floor, it is continuously going through reconstructive changes to make it better and more presentable for the residents. Clark has bulletin boards all over the walls and different displays of books to make it the atmosphere of a library. Also, a member of the Spruce Creek United Methodist Church recently donated a comfortable sitting chair so residents can relax and read by the lamplight in the quiet room. A table with a built in checker board is also present.
However, the newest addition to the room is beautifully handcrafted wooden shelves for the books.
“We had old metal frame shelves all against the wall up until November. One of the maintenance men, he retired, and built all these shelves over in the garage for us. We brought them over before Christmas,” said Clark.
Chet Lockard is the person who built the shelves, and he also built a cart for the library books. The cart is used to transport the books from the library to the rooms of the residents. The main point with the new shelves is that they are built so wheel chairs can easily go around them because the shelves are not against the walls. This makes it easy for the residents to pick out which books they would like to read on their own.
“Our main object in having a library is to get the residents out of their rooms for a short period of time,” said Clark. “We are getting more and more residents to come down or have a volunteer to bring them down.”
The library offers a variety of books and volunteers of Epworth Manor and the nursing staff are also allowed to sign out the materials. Besides the large print books, there are small print books available, cassettes of hymns, books on tape, and local churches tape sermons and send them for the residents to listen to on the cassette player.
Clark and many other volunteers take their time to run the library. Every Wednesday, Mary Brown takes the library cart to the rooms of the residents, and that’s how most receive their library books. Other volunteers are Louise Ferner and Louise Pearson.
The library has planned many ongoing projects for the residents of Epworth Manor. A major one right now is that some of the residents are recording their life stories on a cassette tape, and then Clark will send the tapes to their families. Another project that the library is going to do is a chat reading group to be held out in the lobby once a month where the residents will have a chance to chat about some good books they have read.
“Our next project is Read Across America. This is our third year. I give them the whole month of March to read,” said Clark. “I have 20 on the reading program. Some of the churches are actually sponsoring these women to read.”
Clark assigns the participants of the program different states in the U.S., and when the program is finished at the end of March, hopefully, everyone has read a book that will cover the whole U.S. map. At the end of the program, the participants will receive a certificate, a map and an angel pin for completing the project.
If anyone is interested in sponsoring a reader or donating to the library, contact Clark at Epworth Manor on Wednesday at 684-0320 or at her home number at 684-2935. Also, the library is always looking for volunteers to donate their time to help out. For example, some volunteers read to the residents who can’t see or hold a book.
“The whole object of the library is to get the residents out of their rooms at one time or another,” said Clark.