Lewis lauds Troy library’s gesture

Published 3:00 am Saturday, December 3, 2016

An article in the November/December 2016 American Libraries Magazine caught the eye of Margaret Stewart, retired Troy Public Library director.

The article focused on the role of libraries in today’s world through testimonials by people with high name recognition.

Greta Van Susteren was critical of universities spending money to build new library buildings when libraries are now on line.

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A timid fourth-grader who was desperately trying to go unnoticed because of atrocious handwriting and a messy desk was taken under the wing of the school librarian.  She gave him the confidence that it was okay for a messy, nerd boy who read a lot of books. That teacher, “changed the life” of Bill Gates.

As interesting as those and other entries were, it was the highlighted entry that Stewart found most interesting. It was by Pike County native John Lewis, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia.

Lewis remembered when, as a youngster, he went to the public library in Troy to get a library card and was turned down because the library was “for whites only and not for coloreds.”

He went back to the Troy Public Library in 1998 for a book signing for his first book, “Walking in the Wind.”

“And black and white citizens showed up and they gave me a library card,” Lewis said in the article.

And it was Margaret Stewart who had the honor of handing Lewis a long “past due” library card from the Troy Public Library.

“When Congressman Lewis was coming to the library for the book signing, we wanted to present him with a library card,” Stewart said. “A large number of people came out to purchase his book and to visit with him. He was very gracious in accepting the library card and I was proud to be the one who presented it to him.”

“Walking in the Wind” is an interesting read Stewart said and is available at the Troy Public Library.