Liz Stella Retiring From Library 2008.07. 02

Written by David Green.

By HEATHER WHITEHOUSE

When Liz Stella was offered the job of director at Stair Public Library, she wasn’t even looking for a job.

“I was 50 years old at that time. My husband was going to retire in a few years,” she said. “They came after me. I really had no intention of going to work.”

Fortunately for the residents of Morenci, she accepted the offer.

Twenty years and two new buildings later, Stella stepped down this week.

“I don’t know where the time’s gone, but we’ve had a lot fun.”liz_stella.jpg

For some, imagining the job of a librarian conjures up images of a humorless woman in reading glasses, seated behind a massive desk, eyes on a book and ears on the alert for noisy patrons deserving of a “SHHH!” However, anyone who believes this is an accurate description of a Stair librarian hasn’t been paying attention.

A motivating force

As director, Stella set the tone for an exciting, active library and library community. For almost 10 years she (with the help of her husband, Giovanni) led a troupe of volunteers in a massive fund-raising effort to garner the roughly $400,000 needed to build a new library.

The primary fund-raiser was the Wakefield Park concession stand, where the Stellas and Friends of Stair Public Library gave up their summer weekends for years, serving hungry ball players. The concession stand, along with other fund-raisers (e.g. magnet sales, penny drives, silent auctions), raised approximately $40,000 over seven years. The remaining funds came from donations and grants, many of which required a record of consistent volunteer support for the building project as a condition of receipt.

“We had a lot of diligent, loyal volunteers,” Stella said. “The whole community made this happen.”

The new Stair Public Library, more than three times its original size, was completed in 1997. A few years later, the old library was fully remodeled into an annex and made barrier-free by leveling the multi-floor, mezzanine design. Due largely to a generous donation by the Fay Foundation, the aptly named “Liz Stella Annex,” opened to the public in 2003.

A generous heart

Though Stella will no doubt be remembered by the city for her tireless efforts in making these buildings a reality, library patrons will remember her kindness and generosity on a day-to-day basis.  Always friendly, always welcoming and always accommodating, Stella truly made the library the heart of the community.

She will be missed for her spontaneous exclamations of, “Isn’t this fun?” as she helped patrons find just the right information. She will be missed for her ingenuity and willingness to tackle any craft, art or holiday project (though rumor has it, the Christmas Fantasy Village will continue). She will be missed for her way of making every patron feel important and every request seemingly a delight. She will be missed for her obliging gentility—to everyone aged 5 to 85.

The Big Send-Off

A special library open house is planned in honor of Stella’s retirement Saturday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m. Entertainment will begin at approximately 6:45 p.m. with cake and other refreshments served after the event. The public is welcome to join in the celebration and in honoring Stella and her 20-year contribution to the City of Morenci.

 

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017