Ashland children stage library sit-in

Children's librarian weeps, but remains resolved: 'This library is going to reopen'
Ashland police Sgt. Malcus Williams escorts the youngest members of a childrenís sit-in out of the Ashland library on Friday. Williams, in a pre-arranged agreement with the protesters, escorted about 20 children who refused to leave after the library closed.

The 11-year-old expressed his frustration with a room full of other young library regulars Friday during an early evening sit-in protest of the library shutting its doors.

"It's going to be a lot of money to finish buying the rest of the books in the series," Samel-Garloff said. "I don't have that kind of money."

The kids fittingly staged their protest in the children's wing. They banded together and stayed put after the last adult patrons were ushered out the door at 5 p.m.

For Fran Bowden-Davis, the library's children's librarian, closing day forced her through a gantlet of emotions.

"I tried to stay strong for our patrons but I lost it at around 4:30," she said.

Bowden-Davis changed careers in 1992, when she picked up a library sciences degree at the University of Washington. This was her first job in the field, and it was one she seemed to enjoy very much.

"I don't think I could have found a better position," she said. "But this library is going to reopen; I'm going to be back."

Aubyn Heglie, 10, hopes the protest will reach children across the country.

"I think other kids are going to say, 'Oh my gosh, those poor kids have had their library shut down'," she said.

The sit-in lasted until around 6 p.m. when Ashland police Sgt. Malcus Williams showed up to escort the kids out the door — but not before sitting down to read "Leonardo the Terrible Monster" aloud.

The kids were then led hand-in-hand out the door, where they were greeted with resounding applause by parents and library supporters waiting outside.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.


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