Two weeks ago I wrote about opening the mail at the Cherokee Public Library and finding a nice surprise. It happened again! It's a wonderful story and I am quote from the letter I received:
Dear Friends: A great many years ago -- long enough that I traveled from Sioux City to Cherokee on a passenger train -- I spent two weeks preaching is a tiny church in Cherokee, which probably doesn't even exist today. It was hot as Iowa can be in June, where there was no air conditioning and in many instances not even a fan in a rented room.
Several times during those two weeks, I walked to your library, and I was given permission to take books, even though I was in town for a limited period of time.
Those books, for some reason or other, were among the most enjoyable and profitable I had read up until that time. As a result, I have always had a special spot in my heart for your library. When I travel through northwest Iowa on my sentimental visit each summer, I always park outside the library for a moment, and one year (before the remodeling) I even went inside and went down to the stacks where religious books could be found, hoping that perhaps I could identify some from 1942!
I've been blessed with a long life since then, and nearly three dozen of my own books have been published. The check I am enclosing in no way repays the Cherokee Library for the pleasure it gave me for two weeks in the summer of '42, but I hope it can be used to bring pleasure to other readers, whether residents of Cherokee or perhaps a passing visitor. Thank you!
Sincerely, J. Ellsworth Kalas, President, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky.
I looked up Asbury Theological Seminary on the Internet and found a nice picture and short personal history of Dr. Kalas. He spent 38 years as a pastor in Wisconsin and Ohio then served 5 years with the World Methodist Council. He has been on the faculty at the seminary since 2000. The information is at my desk for anyone who would like to read it.
Obviously, those who worked at the library that summer are gone, but perhaps someone in town remembers a visiting preacher in 1942? What an interesting story about how libraries can touch people's lives.