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100-Pound Bronze 'Book' May Be Scrapped to Pay for Lansdale Library Memorial Garden

Tony Di Domizio

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 • 1:29pm

A 100-plus-pound bronze book statue believed to have been purchased by the former Lansdale Library Board of Trustees in 1997 as a thank you to borough council, and that has never seen the light of day, may be scrapped to help pay for a proposed memorial garden for a former library employee.

At the Lansdale Library Committee meeting Monday, library director Tom Meyer said volunteers are back on track planning a memorial garden for Lois Weber, who died last year at age 86 in a car accident. She worked at the library for 38 years.

Now that the streetscape of the Wood-Vine Connector is finished, the library now has a spot where it is interested in making the garden—a teardrop shape on library property near the parking lot.

"The thought is to put a nice boulder to sit on and put a plaque on it," Meyer said. "We'll plant some herbs, thyme and jasmine. And maybe some yellow roses somewhere. It's a nice garden to her memory." 

There's talk of doing a dedication on Founders Day. 

"People have been asking, 'When will you get it done?' We said, now that the streetscape is just about done, we'll get started and get going on it," Meyer said. "That area we'll make real nice and figure out what to do with the picnic table." 

Meyer said the bronze book statue has been sitting in the library's basement for 17 years. The book's "pages" are inscribed with a thank you to and the names of the Lansdale Borough Council members from 1997.

There was an initial idea last year to resurface the pages of that bronze book with the names of honored volunteers like Weber. However, Meyer said he was told there is no way to resurface bronze.

Meyer said the current scrap value for bronze is about $2 per pound, and the statue weighs well over 100 pounds.

"There's no way to redo that. A guy that read a story about it in the paper said you can't rework it. The suggestion is to scrap it and use the money toward this project," Meyer said.

Meyer said the statue was probably purchased after the addition of the library housing the Young Adults/Children's wing was completed in 1997. At the time, the director was Peter Manakos. Lansdale Borough Council would not become the library Board of Trustees until 2000; at that time, Anne Frank took over as director, leaving in 2008.

"The statue ... dedicates the addition to the council at the time," Meyer said. "They never put it out there. We talked about putting it out for a couple years. We knew the streetscape was coming and we thought we'd have a nice location to put it out there once it's done." 

Meyer said the rumor was the statue was never installed because the council members at the time did not want their names on it and did not want to be associated with it.

Council Vice President Steve Malagari, who sits on the library committee, asked if there was another way to put the names out there as a dedication to the addition. Meyer said it might not be well received. 

"It's weird they would shell out money for something they decided not to use," Malagari said. 

Committee member Mary Fuller said the committee should look into if the bronze statue was purchased by the former board or donated to the borough.

"If there's a way to find out who purchased it, if somebody donated it, if the borough paid for it—we don't know if (the Library Board of Trustees) need other approvals to sell it. We want to cross the T's and dot the I's," she said. 

Meyer said the suspicion is the old library board bought it to thank council.

"I think council saw it as a waste and didn't want to be seen as spending money on something frivolous," Meyer said.

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