Antioch Library Will Leave Lasting Memories

Before electronic searches were a thing, the large wooden card catalog was one of the defining features of the Antioch Library. It was as much a part of the Library as the books themselves, standing right in front of patrons after they turned right upon entering the building.

So you can imagine Darline Cyre’s disbelief when she walked in one day and saw staff emptying the card catalog. Cyre was even more shocked when a worker told her it would not take long to get everything computerized.

“And you know, it didn’t take that long. I don’t know, just a few weeks, and the card catalog was gone,” Cyre recalled.

An even bigger transition takes place this spring when the new Merriam Plaza Library opens as a replacement to Antioch, which closed for good on Jan. 28.

Having served the community since the mid-1950s, the Antioch Library holds a lot of memories for patrons like Cyre, 78. She has used the branch since she and her husband moved to their nearby Overland Park neighborhood in 1967.

That was a few years before the couple had children, but as they added a daughter and son, Cyre enjoyed taking them to storytime at Antioch. The kids also made valentines and other holiday cards at an arts-and-crafts station.

When they got older, the kids studied at Antioch as well.

Cyre also participated in a program that the Antioch Library had with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The museum would send prints to Antioch, and picture ladies would lead art discussions in elementary school classrooms. (Men eventually joined as presenters.)

The staff at Antioch has always been pleasant and helpful, Cyre said. Back in the day, she could call the branch and have them look up a number in the phone book.

“The staff at Antioch has changed through the years, and they’re younger and everything, but they are still very, very friendly and polite,” Cyre said. They greet you when you enter, she said, and tell you to have a good day when you leave. “That just makes you feel good to have people who seem so welcoming and nice to you,” she said.

David Sims does not have as much history with Antioch — he’s only been going there the last eight years or so — but he appreciates the branch, both as a user and as a member of the Library Board.

The Sims household includes two daughters, and he said the youngest of the two, 9-year-old Catherine, is probably the family’s most avid reader. Antioch is the closest branch to their house.

“It’s just so nice that she can check out different kinds of books. We can only buy so many,” Sims said. “Some of them, she checks out over and over again. She gets such a variety of books.”

Catherine confirmed that the reading nooks at Antioch are one of the best things about the branch. “I like that it’s quiet,” she said.

Catherine is a big fan of series like Magic Tree House, The Bad Guys, and Goddess Girls. She was working through “Stallion by Starlight,” part of the Magic Tree House series, earlier this month.

Catherine likes adventures so she can imagine the character’s surroundings. For instance, she said, one part of the Goddess Girls’ “Medusa the Mean” reminded her of the snowy biome in the Minecraft video game.

Catherine is excited about the new Merriam Plaza branch. “I could probably ride my bike,” she said. “I know the way.”