BLACKWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – The library is celebrating a century in 2021 even though the building itself is only 90.
Head Librarian Lisa Vargas keeps a file on the history of this old place, chartered in 1921 by city leaders who raise all the money themselves to construct what is now a civic treasure.
“Anywhere you go, people will talk about how beautiful this building is,” she states. “They will talk about fond memories of coming here.”
You can still walk around and see original furnishings.
The book shelves are all handmade.
The fireplaces are still here even though they’ve been shut off for years.
There is carefully placed modern here; the best WIFI in town, a new 3-D printer is on its way, but Vargas and her staff still lend books that date to the 20s in a special reading room behind the checkout desk.
“We’re always trying to find a balance,” says Vargas, “because we have to respect that history in order to move forward.”
So in looking around, opening the dusty volumes and disturbing forgotten corners, like this old stage in the basement, the city asked a ghost hunter and author herself, Tanya McCoy, to come in and look around.
“It’s like going inside a time capsule,” she says.
Past librarians have reported lights turning on and off by themselves, shadowy figures through the windows, strange noises.
McCoy says she isn’t surprised at all.
“With this library, and most libraries, they tend to have more energy.”
But at the same time, no one working here is especially afraid.
Of possible ghosts, Vargas argues, “They’re not doing any damage. They might knock a book off once in a while or shove them back just to annoy us, but I think they’re just trying to be playful.”
The ghosts are a mystery for McCoy or some other slueth to solve.
Meanwhile, the city of Blackwell continues to point proudly, not at the shadows, but at the light this building has provided, a shining jewel for a community that built it themselves.
McCoy is organizing the 2021 Oklahoma Paranormal Conference in Blackwell.
That event is scheduled for June 26 -27, 2021.
For more information go to www.oklpa.com.
For more information on the library itself, go to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/blackwellpubliclibrary.