Piqua Public Library unveils Nancy Spillane Children’s Department

By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – On Saturday, May 21, the Piqua Public Library held a ribbon-cutting and reopening of the Nancy Spillane Children’s Department in honor of Nancy Spillane. Spillane worked in the Children’s Department for 45 years and recently retired in September of 2021.

The department has undergone a redecorating project, which consisted of repainting the walls, purchasing and installing additional furniture for both children and adults to use, new interactive areas, and a castle wall hanging. The department also installed more activity centers for younger patrons to use along with two small computers available for the younger patrons.

“President of the Friends of the Piqua Public Library, Ruth Koon, donated her services as an interior designer,” according to Kathy Alexander, Board of Trustee member.

Spillane began her work at the library in 1976, and in 1997, she became the Children’s Coordinator. During her time there, she read to the children in story times, held puppet shows, and designed and executed special programs that were imaginative and immersive. She and the other members of the Children’s Department annually held the Summer Reading Club with various themes including, Outer Space, Ancient Egypt, and Medieval Europe. During the pandemic with the travel restrictions, the department used a travel theme to showcase cultures and lives around the world.

“Many, many, many people in Piqua still read today and encourage their children and grandchildren to read today. Nancy has literally inspired generations to read and to enjoy reading,” James Oda, executive director of the Piqua Public Library commented. Oda shared some of the memories he shared with Spillane.

“I think [the children’s department] looks fantastic! I left a part of myself there,” Spillane said emotionally. Spillane recalled a moment recently when she realized the impact she has left on the Piqua community and the youth that has passed through the department while she’s been there. A young man paid for her meal and she recognized him as one of the youth that spent time at the library, and he still recognized her and thanked her for her influence.

The department has also introduced a new backpack program, Jean’s Bags, for children 3-12 years of age to get a backpack with activities and books. The program is in honor of a former member of the Friends of the Piqua Library who passed away. The family requested in lieu of flowers that donations be sent to the organization, which is using those donations to fund the program.