Only in February, at a memorial in honor of head librarian Joe Cali, Antioch’s Olive Kettering library was praised by Ohio librarians and college professors for its continued excellence in light of limited resources. Now yellow caution tape wreathes the 53-year-old building, marking a large bulge that stretches across the back of the college’s pride of ages. The Olive Kettering Library is slowly falling apart, but relief is nowhere in sight.
Constructed in 1954 the OK opened its doors with the agreement that it should be rebuilt in 1974. Due to a lack of resources, however, the engagement was never fulfilled and 53 the Olive is still standing unchanged. The outside wall is falling apart because of a rain damage and corrosion over the years.
“I wish the library would be repaired or a new library would be built,” said interim head librarian Debra Oswald on Monday. ”Sad to say, it doesn’t seem that any plans of reparation are being initiated for the moment.”
Inside, continuing leaks cause parts of the ceiling to come down and the floor in place is repaired with tape. I can’t do anything to prevent the library from these damages because it starts to rain after we go back our houses,” Oswald explained.
With its collection of 325,000 books and countless periodicals, the OK serves as research material for students of both Antioch College and McGregor, as well as the larger Yellow Springs community.
The library is yelling in pain, but with the university’s and college’s finances pressed and financial exigency still looming, relief might just depend on the generosity of donors brought to the table by the recent alumni revival. In elaborating on their recently adopted proposal for a viable Antioch college past 2008, representatives of the alumni association on numerous occasions mentioned the general plan for future renovation of the library and gym facilities.
One donor alumnus who has given generously to the library in the past was Mari Sabusawa Michener, Japanese Nisei and once head librarian at the College.
She died In 1995 and handed part of her inheritance to the Olive Kettering Library, followed by her husband’s estate two years later. Michener loved the library and wanted to contribute to its progress. Following her wishes, almost 3 million dollars became a significant contribution to purchase new books to extend the library’s collection.