30 JUN 05: THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL
This weekend will mark six months since the Columbus Public Library opened. You have to admit people are talking about it. Sometimes they're muttering under their breath, sometimes they're trying to avoid expletives, but at least they're talking....
For all the fuss about a proposed three-story statue outside the library, have you seen what's new INSIDE it? I encountered it the other night, and it was hard to avoid - a giant black sign on the wall of the rotunda. Thankfully, it is NOT the menu for the Library Café.
This black sign is a plaque noting everyone involved in building the Columbus Public Library, and it stands about five feet high. It's almost as if the planners decided most of the visitors would check out large-print books.
The giant plaque names the architect who designed the Columbus Public Library. It names the construction company which built the building. But curiously, it does NOT name any members of the Columbus Council or Muscogee County School Board. You don't think that's to protect the incumbents in the next election....?!
There's one line on the plaque mentioning the Columbus Council, and one mentioning the School Board. But no one is named individually, and there's absolutely no mention of the Library Board on it. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that - because the conspiracy theorists will get fired up again.
Compare that plaque with the one at the entrance to the Northside Branch Library on Armour Road. That marker is about the size of a standard sheet of paper, and lists all the Columbus city officials at the time of its opening. But then again, the only artwork outside that building is a couple of book drop bins.
You can learn surprising things by looking at library plaques. Several years ago I stopped at the East Point Library south of Atlanta, and was amazed to find a member of the Fulton County Library Board was radio talk show host Neal Boortz. To hear him talk, I'd more likely expect him on an airport authority.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that a library planned to have a 25-foot-high statue outside it would have a five-foot-high commemorative plaque inside it. Officials obviously "thought big," when it came to this building. If they'd thought any bigger, this library probably would be in Texas.
(Hmmm - come to think of it, maybe there's a spot for that "Transformation" statue after all. The middle of the rotunda appears tall enough to put it inside. And if it doesn't cover up that plaque, at least it will look much smaller.)
I'm not sure why the names of city officials were left off this five-foot-tall library plaque. Perhaps the Library Board has something else in mind for them. The sides of the floors around the rotunda could become "rings of honor," like football stadiums have -- although I'm not sure Red McDaniel would want his name to go up first.
BLOG BAFFLER: Ed Joyce is the winner of our first baffler! He knew our Wednesday blog title "Woe, Fat" was the name of a villain on the old TV crime drama "Hawaii Five-O." Wo-Fat would be quite out of place on television today - because for starters, he'd have to know at least one martial arts move.
Now a quick check at other Wednesday wonders:
+ Fort Benning officials invited everyone to its Independence Day celebration. It's this evening - not on July 4, but June 30. If you're going to celebrate this early, why not call it "Canada Day Eve" and invade Ontario?
+ A meeting was held on renovating the area around the Liberty Theater, near downtown. The first step is coming soon, with a "streetscape" along Sixth Avenue. So at least police officers will have something nice to see, as they head to more trouble at the Booker T. Washington apartments.
+ Phenix City police showed off their new night-vision lens. This will help in tracking down burglars after dark - and I'm predicting it will increase the number of officers volunteering to do undercover work at Cadillac Jack's.
+ The Swedish home furnishing chain Ikea opened its first Southeast store in midtown Atlanta. A co-worker asked me why it was such a big deal - and I told him: "In other words, you're saying I-don't-kea."
+ Garrison Keillor apologized on his "Prairie Home Companion" web site for last weekend's show at Chastain Park in Atlanta. He wrote a group of "loud drunks" near the stage kept interrupting him - people sitting at top-dollar corporate tables. In Columbus, of course, the buttoned-down executives actually would use these tickets....
(I didn't realize until I visited the Prairie Home Companion web site at post time that one of the songs during the Atlanta broadcast was "Columbus Stockade Blues." One of these days, Mayor Bob Poydasheff will propose making that the official city anthem.)
+ The Albany Herald reported on speculation Donnie Davis was named coach of arena football's South Georgia Wildcats because his father-in-law runs a major local bank. Why didn't anyone think of this before? Let's find someone in Jim Blanchard's
family to manage the Columbus Catfish.
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