Messenger photo by Mike Munden
Librarian Sue Pascual is retiring on May 30 after nearly 27 years at London Public Library. An open house was held on May 27 to wish her well.
She already has the first sentence for her first book. It came to her while she was driving. She wrote it down and, some day soon, she hopes to finish the story.
Sue Pascual has all sorts of ideas about what to do next, now that she has finished another kind of story—her nearly 27-year stint as a librarian at London Public Library.
“I’d like to travel a little. I’d like to go to Alaska and Monterey Bay. I’d like to see the Biltmore in North Carolina and the Battle of Little Big Horn.”
She also wants to get back to her hobbies—ballroom dancing, bellydancing, and photographing wildlife. As a book collector, she wants to spend more time exploring dusty used bookstores to add to her collection on volcanoes, dragons, castles, animals and nature.
“And I’m sure libraries will always be in my life,” Pascual said.
The lover of all things written, especially children’s picture books, started her library career almost 30 years ago as a children’s and young adult librarian in the Cuyahoga County library system. She worked for a short time as a reference librarian in New Philadelphia before becoming director of the London Library on Aug. 11, 1981.
The job is what first attracted Pascual to London; the building and the people kept her here as she transitioned from director to reference librarian to her most recent station in cataloguing.
“I love the old Carnegie building—the original tin ceilings, the beautiful woodwork. It’s very unique,” she said. “And I like the town, the people, the patrons.”
When she first started at London, Pascual was one of two paid staff members. Alice Brown was the other one.
“There was only one real entrance to the building back then, the front door. The other one was a cellar door in the back,” Pascual said. The children’s section was tiny, dark and stuffed with shelves. The card catalogue hadn’t been been purged of obsolete entries since 1905.
While she misses the old card catalogue system for the chance it offered patrons to accidentally flip to something interesting, Pascual said she doesn’t necessarily miss all of the manual work of the old days.
“When the computer age hit, I learned all I know about computers here at the library. When I got my masters in library science, there was no such animal.”
Besides upgrades to technology, Pascual has been on board at London for two building additions—a big one that doubled the library’s space in 1990 and another one that added the children’s wing and offices in 1997.
The first construction project yielded one of many memories that comes with laughter for Pascual. While the bathrooms were being completed, the library staffers had to use the facilities at Hotel Pizza (now Phat Daddy’s).
“I remember walking down First Street with a roll of toilet paper in my hand,” she said.
Whether it was wading through a flooded basement, caused in part by a newspaper and tennis ball stuck in a drain pipe, or being serenaded by a patron fond of song parodies, the experiences Pascual “endured” and enjoyed at London Library are many.
Pascual’s colleagues celebrated her service to the library—both funny and functional—with an open house on May 27. Her last day was May 30.