Time capsule tribute

Grady Library’s summer program gives patrons a chance to speak to readers 50 years from now

THE OSCAR GRADY LIBRARY STAFF stood in front of the library showing postcards residents are being asked to fill out to be put into a time capsule that will be opened in 2069. Shown (from left) are Martin Morante, Hope Lawrence, Maggie Berg, Library Director Jen Gerber, Julie Gallo, Debra Jo Becker, Tyler Quaas, Rita Gregory-Chase and Lynn Stark. One of the postcards (bottom photo) shows the District No. 1 School that stood on the same site in 1888. Another school built at the location in 1924 was eventually was converted into the library. Top photo by Sam Arendt
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

Will libraries exist in 50 years?

The staff at the Oscar Grady Library hope and believe so, and are creating a sort of love letter to their successors 50 years in the future.

And they want the rest of Saukville to join in the effort.

Staff members are creating a time capsule in which they hope to share the community’s thoughts on their love of books and libraries and pretty much anything else.

The time capsule is tied to the library’s summer reading program, which began Monday, June 10, and runs trough July 31 and features a space theme, with 2019 being the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Instead of just looking back at the event, Library Assistant Martin Morante said it made sense to look forward.

“When the question was asked, ‘Where will we be in 50 years?,’ we  hope that libraries will be as relevant to the communities in the future as they are today,” Morante said.

Postcards featuring images of the library site from the Jim and John Peterson Collection of historic Saukville photographs will be distributed to patrons.

One postcard image shows the school that stood on the library site in 1888. The other is of the current library building when it was a school in 1924.

Those filling out the postcards will be asked to answer three questions:

• What’s your name?

• What’s your favorite book?

• What’s your message to the people using the library in 2069?

“Say ‘Hi’ to your older self or simply leave a message to your family, friends, community or humanity, to be read in 50 years,” declares the library website promoting the effort.

“We thought to ask the community to come forward (and look forward) to join us by sharing not only their love for books by naming their favorite book but also writing a three-line message,” Morante said in an email.

The postcards will be archived at the library in a box that will also include copies of Ozaukee Press with this article, a photograph of the library staff signed by all of them and a letter from Library Director Jen Gerber to the future library staff and patrons with her thoughts about the event and the library building.

“They will be our gift to the people coming to work and enjoying the library many of us call home,” Morante said. “We would like to let people in the future know how much we treasure this library (and libraries in general), but also that we hope people will still be enjoying and valuing them in half a century.”

The time capsule will be sealed and put on display in the library, together with a framed copy of this article and a plaque being made for the occasion and explaining the event. It also will include the following quote from scientist Carl Sagan:

“The health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”

For more information on the project and the Summer Reading Program, go to www.oscargradylibrary.org.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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