Erma Banks and Callie McGinnis

Recorded November 7, 2021 Archived November 7, 2021 39:14 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby021218


Friends and colleagues, Erma Banks [no age given] and Callie McGinnis (77), discuss their former workplace: Columbus Area Library Association (CALA). They talk about the formation of the organization, pivotal characters in its development, and the events they created to engage the Chattahoochee Valley area community.

Subject Log / Time Code

EB remembers meeting CM through CALA.
EB recalls how, why, and by whom CALA was created.
CM outlines CALA's mission.
EB and CM remember the recipe collection project they worked on, which aimed to engage the Columbus, GA area community.
EB and CM discuss more of the public events CALA brought forth.
EB and CM describe "The Columbus Book of Lists," which was published by CALA.
EB and CM talk about some of the honors and recognitions that CALA granted and received.
EB and CM remember what the organization's meetings were like.
EB and CM reflect on their library careers, as well as the careers of some of their colleagues at CALA.
EB and CM discuss the technological changes local libraries implemented in the 1990s.
EB remembers the 10th anniversary celebration of CALA.
CM shares the story behind "The Columbus Sports Trivia Book," which was published by CALA.
EB and CM discuss the "Libra" awards, which CALA grants annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to libraries in the Chattahoochee Valley area.
CM shares how CALA is doing today and looks forward to the future of the organization.


  • Erma Banks
  • Callie McGinnis

Recording Location

Columbus Public Library



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00:02 Erma Banks. And

00:06 Today's date is Sunday, November 7th 2021 here at Columbus Georgia. My interview partner is Callie McGinnis, who is also a text Ally of mine.

00:24 I am really glad to have Kelly here with me and we're going to be talking about our organization Columbus Area, Library Association.

00:39 And I am Callie McGinnis, age. 77. Today's date is Sunday, November 7th, 2021. We're here in Columbus, Georgia, and I'm with my interview, partnering with banks, a former colleague, and a friend. And as Irma said, we are here to talk about Calla, the Columbus Area Library Association,

01:04 Will Cali, we have been on a long journey with Columbus Area Library Association, some 36 years.

01:18 All right, but they have passed very fast, and we have enjoyed many a year with Calla. I'm sitting here looking at a collage of our first meeting.

01:35 And we see some old familiar faces, and we see some familiar faces that we see.

01:44 Every once in awhile and they become our friends.

01:51 We were at pacelli high school library and lessor.

01:59 Many pictures of our first meeting and who all was there.

02:08 This was this meeting was in 1985 January. So I remember, I don't know whether you remember the, the birth of Calla. Remember in that conference room when we were talking about. We didn't know who the Librarians worry in the city of this was what we wanted to do. Get Librarian from all libraries here in Columbus, to get to know each other and get to know what resources they had in their library that were available to our community.

02:55 Well, why don't you read some of the names of the people who were there that are featured in that picture? I see your name. And also, there was Alberta shiffman and she was one of the early Librarians at one of the public libraries.

03:17 I think she was at Mildred Terry. She was at Mildred Terry. Stop telling Watson who was the librarian after Mildred Terry.

03:32 Who was at that library. And she was the manager or the head of that Library, Mary Ann Middleton?

03:43 Which is where this library was, the all these pictures were taken. She was a librarian at pacelli.

03:53 Crawford Pike, variety of people, Crawford pipe with the head of the talking books library at the public library, Rowena Baker.

04:07 Was there also Kathy will bright, and then we had people who were not Librarians, like, Craig Lloyd, who was a professor at Columbus State University.

04:25 And the archivist. He was the first archivist, wasn't he? Yes, he was in 1985.

04:41 And then that was Kathy Woolbright Betty, Clements Mariah father and some of these people were paraprofessional in the library. Not just librarians.

04:57 Well, I vaguely remember that meeting again. It was 36 years ago, but I do have in front of me on my side of the page, a copy of the first bylaws that were adopted at that meeting. And I'm not going to read them line by line, but I will say that for the first to the organization shall be called the Columbus Area, Library Association, and the object of the organization Shelby to advance the interest and services of libraries, public College, school, and special information, centres and other Library related agencies in the Columbus Phenix, City area. And adding to what you said earlier that, I think one of the main purposes for when we establish this group was networking. I think we had some examples from Atlanta. They had a group like this and many of us at Columbus State.

05:57 Just thought it would be a really good idea to get to know our professional colleagues throughout the city so we could share information and resources.

06:07 So I'm turning the page here. Let's see, what's on the next page for you to talk about.

06:13 Although there were many activities that we wanted to get involved in and to let people in the community know that we were here. We really wanted people to know that the Librarians were active in the community. And so our local paper was giving organizations opportunities to

06:41 Talk about their recipes.

06:45 You remember that Carly? It was Saturday. Yeah, it was Sarah Spanos, and it was in 1986. And so we pulled together a collection of our recipes and who is in the picture that you're looking at. They are I am of course and there's Helen Watson and you Callie McGinnis and Jack Kelly. Jack Kelly was from the public library and Helen was from the Mildred Terry Library, which was a part of the public library system and you and I from what was then called Columbus college and in the four of us were officers that very first year. I was President Jack was first. Vice president. Helen was secretary.

07:45 And you were Treasurer and then Lynn Sears, who is not in the picture was the second vice president, right?

07:53 And read the title.

07:56 What do bookworms like besides books?

08:02 And you'll see, as we go along that, there were a lot of meetings that will help and restaurant. That's, we love to eat. You know, I think all libraries have a reputation for having really good cooks, and whenever libraries have receptions, everybody comes because there's going to be some good stuff there. Right? Well, I'm looking at the page that was actually published in the newspaper by Sarahs Fano food. Today, April 1986, and I have a recipe. I think I might have fixed this one time for oyster Loaf and basically it's like a big voice to pull. Boy, sandwich Jack Kelly had 10 alarm chili, you had spicy chicken wings and seven seven layer salad. I do remember that from the old days and let's see. Who else.

09:02 Eileen had tuna slaw and apple slaw and Jack Kelly gave a recipe for peanut rice, which is really looks like a hurry kind of rice with peanuts on top. So that was our first shot at getting some publicity for our organization that recipe for that spicy chicken wings.

09:29 I still make it my my son's demand that every once in awhile. All right. So what's on your side of the page?

09:47 Well, we protest as a Groove.

09:52 The censoring of doctor Roots book fear will remember. See she had that.

10:00 Kind of Ray. See what they thought was the race seat back in 1987. And so we supported that that book being in the library. Yes, and then the other act that was 1987, the other activity that we we were very active active group. We wanted to be known and so we had the the city's oldest book.

10:35 Which was four hundred and

10:39 450 years old and along with that we held a book appraisal so you could bring your book week. We have this book appraisal to come in and look at everybody's books that they brought to the Peachtree Mall.

11:02 And that was in 1988. And what we, what we wanted to do was to give people an opportunity to get their books appraised. And so we had quite a bit of response and I believe we paid for the appraiser is appraising. We're not official, they were just verbal, but still I think it helped people. I do to a lot and a long up with that the officers that arranged that was telling Watson cuz she was the President Van Linda Kennedy. She was at the school of the Americas out in Fort Benning. She was a librarian out there and John Emmons was at the brightly library, and she was also the treasurer at that time.

12:01 And then there was a librarian Nancy Greer and she was the librarian at Rosehill bib school. She was the library in there and she was our secretary.

12:19 While looking at my page, I have the poster we put up for the that event. It was Saturday April 23rd, 1988 from 10 to 1 and from 2 to 5 and Cliff, bro. Bart, a proprietor of Atlanta's old New York bookstore was the appraiser. And

12:42 The other articles on this page, or just about the, the publicity for that event, but I think the oldest book that day was claimed by the Columbus College archives, one published in 1562 and the other end 1668.

13:06 So let me turn up friends of misery. That sounds good.

13:13 All right, we turn the page.

13:16 And we were talking about the book collections at different owners of their book collection. It was a meeting at Reese Road school and Hardaway, high school and the Bradley Library week. During that year. We met at those different places and we're looking at the book collections from that particular Library.

13:52 And on my page we have up another publicity poster from 1988. We did a this was open to the public a session on book binding and document preservation. And we did have someone from a Bindery. I don't know the name of the person but someone came down and was going to be taking family. Bibles are other old books that were in bad shape but needed.

14:22 Rebonding. And course there was a charge for that. But but that was, that was during National Library, week of 1988 April, 15th at pacelli High School.

14:38 As I said, we were very active and letting people know what was there and it was a open house, was it?

14:51 At first, with the National Library week thing underneath it, and we had decided that we was going, we were going to do a book of lists. And so the members all got together and decided on memories of Columbus, just for memories listed, their things that aren't there anymore and this was under

15:25 April, 89, 90 90 and we got together and pull together these book of lists.

15:35 People wanted, you know, people wanted to buy it. And so I think I did quite a few things, Joe Emmons, pull together quite a few items that we were going to put in that.

15:55 In that in that book.

15:59 Well, on my side of the page, Carol is being who was one of the editors at the newspaper. Wrote about our book of lists. And he said that the Columbus list is a fascinating reading. Although sometimes a little stinting on facts, for example, readers would like to know that Snuffy Shanty among the 50 restaurants that have gone out of business, was a Columbus franchise operation based on the comic strip Snuffy Smith. So he goes on to say that we left a few things out of the book of lists, but we knew that we were limited by the number of pages in our book. And we wanted to keep it reasonably short because of printing, the CSU Library and at the

16:59 The Archives.

17:02 What we did a lot of

17:06 Funds fundraising doing that National Library week in celebration of the libraries in the area. And we were honored by the mayor pro-tem who was

17:26 A.j. McLean for doing that. And we thought that that was nice and we are also recognized by the president of the Muskogee area literacy Association. And we gave them with what we thought was big-time. Oh, yeah, $50 to help with the literacy program in Columbus. We are accepted the proclamation right from the city of Columbus. The mayor, and there is a copy of that proclamation in the Scrapbook, that we're looking at really proud of that. Oh, yeah. Yeah. We were really proud of that. And then in, we decided to celebrate,

18:26 Librarians, and the

18:31 The librarian that we talked about the most during that time, was mrs. Chapel.

18:40 What was her first name? Miss. It really is Miss Smith, and she was one of the first Librarians and the Columbus library. The public library. And everybody knew miss Chapel and she knew everybody.

19:04 And she was very, she kept everything. That's what I remember people talking about her, but she was very

19:17 Very well-liked in the community.

19:22 Well, on my page, where it up to 90, 91 92 and our officers were Edgar Lester. Who was head of the Columbus Tech, Library Elaine Powers who was head of the Houston sports medicine, Foundation Library as vice-president Terry McGee from Spencer high school with secretary and Kim Sangster from Columbus College. Was our Treasurer in that year. We wrote a letter to the editor and it was up to let them know. We were disappointed to see that Columbus. Georgia had been the site of a book Record & Tape burning. We understand from the article written by mr. Connett and the subsequent letter from the principal of Grace Christian School. That this idea was the children's idea. We also understand that Grace Christian is indeed a private school and they can teach what they wish we would hope the children would be encouraged.

20:22 By adults to discuss those ideas and works which may be controversial and to be critical and analytical and to reject ideas for themselves based on their own values. So we were taking a stand on a local book book burning. Which at this time. I don't remember but the let it happen. It happened. Yeah, and also on my page we have some pictures from a televised White House conference that was held at Columbus College in 1991. And some of the people I see here in the pictures weren't supposed to see who was from Columbus college and Merrill Pinson, who was the head of the Columbus College library and as we now refer to her as the mother of Galileo because she was really the brains behind the establishment of our electronic library services in Georgia. So and of course we were

21:25 We did have meetings that you're at Columbus. Text Malone's. Oh, yeah, which is now gone and Country's Barbecue. Well, one of the things that I was under the formation of Calla Merrill. Pinson was a director at the time. That Columbus College are now, Columbus, State University. And she kind of lead that discussion of a foreman. Yes.

22:00 We said, we ate out a lot.

22:03 And here we have pictures of the different that we ate out, and also pictures of all 1991, Cala Christmas party at this Malone's, which we love. And now I can't even remember where my life must have been Mo in the mall, but we love to goats to that and some of the people in the pictures they're I am course and they ass. Mike shaddock. Who was the librarian?

22:46 The head librarian, then maybe the only librarian at Warm Springs Institute and which was a rehabilitation facility, but he was the library in their nest Sandra Stratford and also Evelyn to who it was a retired librarian, which she was our treasurer for years. She did that for us. And then there's Crawford Pike and his wife. They were both sign. Impaired, vision impaired, and there's Edgar, Lester and Merrill Pinson.

23:34 You know, who was the librarian with Kelly and I are at Columbus State University.

23:45 Well, in 1990 to our officers were Elaine Towers president from the Hughston Clinic, Pat McMahon and Elaine mordock from Kendrick were Vice Presidents. Evelyn is spermicide from Fort, Benning was Treasure and Kim Sangster was our secretary. We had meetings, a toxins restaurant and Henry High School. And one of the big events that we did that year was. We had a wonderful tour of the remains of the old Carnegie Library down on Broadway. It is we was part of the Muskogee Mill and it was scheduled for demolition, which we were not too happy about. But John Leupold who was a historian at Columbus College, took us on a tour of the old Carnegie Library and

24:41 I see a bunch of people in in the tour including Ron Mack a local attorney, not a librarian, but he came. He was a member and came to many of our our meetings. And after we had wonderful tour of the Carnegie Library, which of course by then. It was a meal. It wasn't nothing but afterwards. We went to countries for a nice meal.

25:13 We also honored people in the community who were doing things with reading and literacy and during that time. That was 1993 and 94 hour.

25:32 Preston was Callie McGinnis, Sharon self with Hardaway. High school was the vice president Gary McCullough from the Bradley library. Now the Columbus Public Library with secretary and Evelyn pool.

25:53 They are again. That was good old Evelyn at Fort Benning in the military base was treasurer.

26:02 Also, during that time, we

26:09 We we had Mildred Terry to die, she passed. And so we have a copy of her her obituary here and that was

26:24 May 6th 1994.

26:28 Well, on my side of the page, I shouldn't have had to have to talk about this but for some reason there's a big article about me and it says her career has been one for the books. And this was in the friends section, which I don't even remember anymore in the Columbus, ledger-enquirer. And that was the year that I was President. It just talks about my Library career. Basically, we all have had wonderful Library career. I think we talked about another one of our

27:09 Librarians who was Myrtle Blackman. And she was the librarian at Columbus High School for years, and they really honored her.

27:26 At her at her death.

27:30 That was in January 18th of 1994.

27:43 For National Library week, the page, I'm looking at is basically an article written for the Columbus, Ledger Enquirer about media centers, tired of low funds and also a continuation of an article called School library book collections are getting moldy and the Columbus. Reporter went out and interviewed a number of media specialist in the area to talk to them about their financial situation, and the collection of their condition of their book collections. And in 1994. It wasn't too good.

28:33 So, this is more publicity during National Library week for 19944. Saint Marys, Road, elementary school, but during that time, they were

28:47 Which was the Big Bang they got in, on the information Highway Orion. They showed how the students were exposed to technology and they had their own radio station. And so that was kind of a no it's not like you think it is, but here is a school that has gotten quite a bit of funding and became very high-tech in their delivery of Library services. And on my side of the page is a continuation of the coverage of libraries for National Library week, and it's showing

29:29 Young person in, in a branch of the Columbus library, the South Branch using a computer, a big giant monitor to the computer and just showing that Columbus was trying to get on that information Highway and keep trucking.

29:56 Then they talked about the the needs of the libraries in Columbus, especially because of the technology and it was coming along, it really, it didn't look like it was that long ago, but there we were struggling, trying to get on to the information Highway and to get into technology.

30:31 So,

30:33 We we did try to focus and on the library, send this one shows, Karen self, trying to get her Library up, to par at Hardaway, high school. Again. This is all 1994. We made a big push that year for publicity and we have the the money today section of The Ledger Enquirer did an article about a professor at Columbus College, Robert Howell, who is in business and he talked about how he used all the resources course, back in 1990 for most of them were print. I remember value line and some of those other Standard & Poor index has that he he liked a lot of those were the horses that we had in the reference department at Columbus college or Columbus State University, and I was head of the library.

31:33 At that time, I think I may have been.

31:38 It's been. I spent thirty years there.

31:43 Since we only have 10 minutes, yes. What is this? This is another party. It looks like well, it was the anniversary of Calla, the 10th anniversary and someone had gotten one of the mothers of our

32:02 Our Student Assistance, and she made this big cake of books in 1996, which was the year of the Olympics. As you recall. We decided Khalid decided to publish a little booklet called Columbus sports memories and we had different people, different Librarians, write articles. We had Craig Lloyd. The archivist at CSU writing about the history of sporting in Columbus and I believe Bill Chappell who was an authority on Southern Sports. Even wrote an article about sports in the South. And so we publish that little booklet with which also like the book of lists sold out. In fact, we participated at Riverfest which is a

33:02 When are fair that the Columbus, the city of Columbus holes, and we went Cali again is Joan Emmons, and myself are Mabank. We went to that River Fest and Saint petals out Book, Soup board member, and that was quite as success. Well in 1996 to 97, Clara Ellis was our president, and we had a lot of meetings. I remember having one meeting at her house actually and some of the people married Rouge from Columbus College Pat. O'Shea from the public library Pam, Howard from Columbus College, Tracy, Elliott from Columbus College, Rick call Albert Merrill, Martha, Noyes, etc, etc.

34:04 1997.

34:07 We had a ice cream, social.

34:10 And that was in 98 and of course a good time was had by all this wrong mag. There, I am. There's Callie McGinnis.

34:27 Jackie Marie and Ed. Martin was called and when you were looking for a kind of a book that was outdated and you wanted to you could find it at his bookstore.

34:51 Well on my side of the page, we have a lot of photographs and a little brochure about an event. We hosted to publicize Margaret and Barnes who had written murder in Coweta County, a few years, prior to this. But in 1998, she came at our request and spoke about her new book, the tragedy and Triumph of Phoenix in Phenix City, Alabama. We had that over at cvcc and we had course, a lot of public people members of the public came for the book signing, and by the book,

35:34 We have the retirement reception for Helen Watson in 2000 and was a longtime member of Calla. And so quite a few people can't to that reception.

35:56 And for 2002-2001. We had a program at Columbus.

36:06 I don't know where we have the broken, but we had a program at the Museum and it was featuring Frank Snell talking about his exhibit on FDR that same year. We had a program featuring Craig Lloyd, our archivist talking about the book that he wrote about Eugene Bullard black expatriate in Jazz Age Paris, which was very interesting and well-attended.

36:38 We had a Libra award in 2001. I think it was.

36:47 We can save that honoring Librarians in the area for their achievement in the library for fashion, and we decided to do that under.

37:01 The Libra Ward.

37:07 Was.

37:09 Anyone could win the Libra award in the community, but they had extensive Library contributions to the library, and it looks like on my side of the page. The first awards we gave were to Mildred Terry and Mary Liz B.

37:34 And Loretto Chapel, I had 21.

37:48 Believer award. I've won the Libra award. And the Lester has has wanted.

38:01 Okay, and so, let's see. The second Libre award was presented to Edgar Lester and now we are at the end of our scrapbook. And basically, we have the officers for 2004, to 2005, and 2005, to 2006. We changed officers every year and although we did try to keep the treasure around and so

38:32 Our scrapbook ends in 2006. This is the first scrapbook. There's another one to follow, but we're not talking about that today. So cap the Scrapbook ends, but Calla has continued. And today, it's doing quite well with a lot of younger Librarians in charge and Irma. And I would like to wish them all the best and continued success, building interest in libraries and Library type agencies.