Garland puts ideas on display

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 10, 2000

at the Troy Public Library


Features Editor

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Putting her ideas on public display is Gloria Garland’s "purple passion."

In fact, 108 times a year she does just that.

However, she will quickly say that the ideas on display each month at the Troy Public Library are not just her ideas.

"Some of the ideas for the displays at the library do come from my imagination," Garland said. "But, many more of them come from the library staff, from resource books and from patrons."

Each month, Garland organizes and arranges nine displays for the library and, although it would seem that the idea pool would run dry, it never has.

"Oh, I think we’ll always have ideas for the library displays because there is a day designated to celebrate everything and anything imaginable – from apples to zoo animals," Garland said.

However, there are some displays that fall into the category of "traditional" and people expect them to be there and they look forward to them.

"Holidays are set," Garland said. "We couldn’t let them pass without acknowledging them with some type of display. We do try to change the theme of holiday displays each year. For example, at Christmas this year, we are considering displaying nativity scenes. We plan far in advance."

Garland comes from a military family and she married a military man, so she knows the importance of planning in advance.

"I don’t do things at the last minute," she said. "I put a lot of thought and planning into whatever I do and that has kept organizing and arranging the library displays from being stressful."

Garland, a retired nurse, moved to Troy 10 years ago and soon became a volunteer at the Troy Public Library. She quickly moved from volunteer to part-time staff but, after six years, she decided to take a second retirement.

But Margaret Stewart, library director, encouraged her to continue working with the library as its "display person."

Garland accepted and happily devotes three all-day "tours of duty" each month to creating the displays. But it’s not work; it’s more like Christmas.

"The library staff and patrons bring items for the displays and going through all those boxes is like Christmas," Garland said. "It’s so much fun to open a box and see the surprises inside."

For Garland, it’s Christmas all year long as she also gets to unpack the private collections of patrons who lend their treasures to the library for others to enjoy.

"There are very few people – men, women and children – who don’t collect something," Garland said. "We try to have a display of interest to each group every month. Men usually are interested in displays that have to do with the military but, recently when I put up the display for the Army’s special anniversary, I had little boys hanging off my shoulders while I put the stuff in the case.

So, many of the things that interest the men also interest the boys."

The same is true of women and girls but not to such a high degree. Kitchen gadgets don’t create the same amount of interest among little girls that they do among women but they both love dolls.

"We have collections and displays of special interest to children – toys and trading cards

especially," Garland said. "The displays are designed for a special group but many times something in a display triggers a memory for someone outside that group. We just never know who will find a display interesting and meaningful."

Garland has her own collections and they are varied – cottages, dragons, apples and Precious Moments military figurines.

Collecting is fun and sharing it is even more fun," Garland said, adding she doesn’t know which is more fun.

"We encourage anyone who has a collection and would like to share it to contact the Troy Public Library. No matter what the collection is, we will be able to find a time and place for it among out displays. We also invite the public to visit the library and see the displays. I’m sure they’ll find them interesting."

This month the library has displays for National POW-MIA Recognition Day, "Purple Passion," the United States Air Force anniversary, kitchen gadgets, miniatures, old advertising memorabilia, glass bottles, September birthdays and birds.