Cindy Lellig retires
By Cheryl Parker

Retirement Open House Sat., July 22, 2–4 PM

When full time mom Cindy Lellig’s son, Matthew, started school, and daughter Melanie was 3, Cindy thought she might like to serve on the library board. She stopped in to see City Clerk Marsha McGlaughlin to inquire about becoming a board member. Unbeknownst to Lellig, the current librarian had just quit. “In that case,” said Lellig, “I would like to apply for that job!” As it turns out, the city council made a good choice in accepting her application.

Lellig is only the fourth librarian to serve Jesup; she follows in the footsteps of Mrs. A. C. Knowles, Darlene Reinhardt, and Deb Reuber. Her first day on the job was October 1, 1987, and June 30, 2017 marks the last day of a nearly 30-year career as Jesup City Librarian. (Lellig explains the fiscal year ends on June 30, so that was a good date to leave.) She wasn’t always the city librarian. Lellig started her career as a teacher librarian in the Grundy Center School before coming to the Jesup Community School. After seven years of being a teacher librarian, she left the work force to start a family.

In addition to a history of four librarians, the Jesup Public Library has been located at a number of different locations. The organization began when The Even Dozen Study Club members donated their own books to a back corner of City Hall. From there, the collection moved to the Jesup Community School and was staffed by volunteers. In 1951, the library moved to its first stand-alone building on Sixth Street, where the Masonic Lodge currently resides. The growing library then moved into the Farmers State Bank location (where City Hall is now, on the corner of Sixth and Young) in 1979 when the bank built their new facility. One January day in 1990, following a quilt show for nearly 50 people, the staff found the floor “spongey” when they came in. A foray into the crawl space area revealed three broken floor joists. They were closed for a few weeks while repairs were made. Then, a few weeks later, it happened again. The building had been engineered to support the requirements of a bank, not rows and rows of heavy bookshelves.

At this point the library board and the community sprang into action. They went door-to-door and kicked fund raising into high gear. They raised $200,000 from the community. Dawn Quackenbush, Robin (Adams) Harms and Lellig put together an LSCA grant, to be administered by the State of Iowa requesting $100,000. Lellig very clearly remembers the day she got the phone call from the state. When the grant commission representative told her they would like her to reconsider the amount of the grant, she panicked. The grant commission rep went on to say that $200,000 was a great deal of money to be raised by a town this size. It was unlikely Jesup would be able to raise any more. The grant commission wanted to devote their entire budget for that year, $175,000, to the City of Jesup. Would they consider rewriting the grant request, increasing the amount to $175,000? Of course they would! And they did.

Lellig spent two full days with the architect. He wanted her input on the floor plan. Since most of the time the library would be staffed by one person, it was important to have open areas that were visually accessible. At that time Lellig was supposed to be working a 25-30 hour work week; there was so much that had to be done. She made the rounds to all the service groups: the Ladies organizations, the Lions Club and other civic clubs, all the churches. There were weekly construction meetings. Because of the grant, union wages had to be paid to all laborers, whether they were union or not. There was a mountain of paperwork that had to be filed. Marshall Zuck was mayor at that time, and when he asked the city council to increase her hours to full time, they agreed. She, Julia Darby and (the late) Janeen Seehase went to the architect’s office in Strawberry Point to decide on color schemes and other details.

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