The George Firestone Building

George Firestone Building
409 East Gaines Street 
 Built: 1936

County jail from 1937 to 1966, then a state office building.  Vacant since 2007.

Pictures taken December 2015.



Diary 2016/04/02

It has been a couple of years since I've worked a Springtime Tallahassee Saturday.  The annual festival starts with an early morning run.  Being close to downtown, yet having fairly quiet streets, our neighborhood around Myers Park, a forested, upland area, is where local runs often are mapped.

This morning's run made my planned route to work, to avoid downtown road closings, impossible.  I found myself forced onto Apalachee Parkway toward the capitol, onto Monroe, our "main street", (which would be the parade route later), and west on Tennessee Street to the library.

It was at least as quick as my planned southern "back way", and more entertaining.  I observed a conquistador and his lady waiting to cross at Tennessee, looking for their krewe.

Parking my Vespa near the staff entrance, people waited there for the Friends of the Library book sale to begin in the garage.  As I stowed my riding gear, the doors rolled up and volunteers came out, placing extra trays of books on the concrete.

It made me think how for me, books are like the air I breathe.  I have free access to all the books I want, to the point that wanting to actually own them would be like trying to swallow the ocean.  I'm largely content to let libraries own them.  But I can remember when book stores and book sales drew me that way, when I lived on the periphery of the book world.

I was working with Susan E. today, always a pleasure.  Susan and I are the senior librarians in adult reference, "old hands".  Susan brought up the newspapers.  I fetched the zippered bank bag with our store of change, counting it and swapping a $20 for some $1's and quarters from the print station coin machine.

I noticed an empty microfilm box at the desk with a note to look for the missing reel.  Newsweek, 1985.  I thought it might still be in one of the machines, and I was right.  It had been wound all the way off its reel onto the receiving reel of the machine.  The empty reel lay next to the machine.  I rewound it.  The machine's printer also showed a jam, which I cleared, and the paper tray had been changed to a different alignment, which I restored.  I then noticed that the other of our two old viewers needed resetting and unjamming.  A sheaf of copies solid black with toner sat to its side with another reel of film.  The printer had a sheet of paper stuck to its rollers from toner.  I had the depressing feeling that if I were not there, things would go completely to hell.

Would it make me feel better if they did?  More likely, things would just bump along the way they always have.  Did we really put a man on the moon?

I have been gone for a while, so you will not know that I entered DROP in February.  What this means is that I am technically retired, though I may work up to five more years, while my pension payments accumulate in an interest-bearing account.  You have to apply for DROP at age 62 or 30 years of service, and I turned 62 first, so it was now or never.

On top of which the main library recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in its present location.  I am the only one left who was there when we moved in from our cramped space in the old Northwood Mall.  I still have the t-shirt.  It was a huge success!  Throngs of people showed up.  It wasn't about memories, it was about what the library means to people now and every indication is that it means a lot.  A vote of confidence and appreciation.

Listen to me, reader, saying the right thing.  DROP and the anniversary were a lot to digest psychologically.  I'm still working on it... 

The day was quieter than usual, as it had been the last time I worked a Springtime Tallahassee Saturday.  We used to get people coming in to use the restrooms, but not anymore.  Possibly the number of portable toilets has been increased.  I am guessing that Sunday will be busy, as people take care of business put off today.