Judge, clerk of court present ‘Les’s Library’ to supervisors

T-R PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY — Marshall County Clerk of Court Carol Haney, front, and Judge Sharon Greer, back, address the Board of Supervisors about “Les’s Library” during Wednesday morning’s regular meeting.

During the public comment period of Wednesday morning’s Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting, Judge Sharon Greer and Clerk of Court Carol Haney came before the board to present their idea for “Les’s Library,” which would provide a wide selection of books for kids whose parents are compelled to engage with the court system in one way or another.

Haney explained that one of her employees, Les George, came to work with a shoebox full of kids books and dispersed them to kids who came into the office. When Haney asked her about it, she said the mothers she was dealing with were filling out domestic abuse, divorce, mental health and substance abuse paperwork.

“It’s a very stressful time for Mom, and here she’s trying to entertain her children while she’s doing probably one of the hardest things she’s ever done,” Haney said. “So Les would bring books, and sure enough, I’d walk out there and here’s an older brother reading to a younger brother, occupying them while Mom’s doing what she has to do.”

From the original shoeboxes, the books eventually necessitated banker boxes, and a year later, Greer and the Bar Association jumped onboard to make it a full bookshelf while the courts were still operating out of the Max Building across the street from the courthouse. Now that they’ve returned, Haney said they would like to place it in a spot that’s visual to the public and formally name it “Les’s Library” in honor of George, who passed away in April at the age of 65.

Greer proposed putting it on the fourth floor near the main entrance to the Clerk of Court’s office against a wall with a new shelf provided by the state.

“We just think it’d be kind of a cool thing to do, and like Carol said, it aids a very stressful situation for people. I don’t know that it requires action, but we would love to have you know about what we’re up to,” she said.

Supervisor Carol Hibbs told Greer and Haney she had talked to Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke about the placement, and there were thoughts about putting it in a hallway area for “closeness and proximity.”

“I think having it out in the public area is what we’re trying to accomplish. Right now, it’s hidden, and if we get it out into the public area, I’m hoping it has more use,” Haney said.

They then reached a consensus on being open to trying it in different locations and seeing what works best in the long term. Hibbs also asked if there would be any sort of placard making mention of George, and Haney said she would be happy to pay for the creation of a wooden sign that says “Les’s Free Library.”

Board Chairman Jarret Heil called the idea “a wonderful service” to help people dealing with sensitive situations, and Haney again praised George for her forethought in introducing the concept.

“A lot of times, we just kind of get labeled as ‘Oh, we’re just government employees. We’ve just gotta do our jobs and get through,’ but we’re dealing with real people with real problems in real situations,” Heil said. “It’s just a small thing to make difficult times a little bit better, so it’s a wonderful idea. I’m glad we can make this happen.”


Contact Robert Maharry at (641) 753-6611 ext. 255 or rmaharry@timesrepublican.com.


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