Spring Hill’s Library Director, Dana Juriew, and Jessica Gray, their Teen Coordinator, decided that they needed to do something to document the crazy, unprecedented year of 2020, and then bury it so that the library and community could begin to move on. They also needed something big to celebrate their 45th anniversary. As the pandemic rages on, they have decided that this will have to be their only celebratory event, but a fun one that has been opened to the entire community.
“We asked citizens of Spring Hill in 2020 to tell us what was important…to them during the pandemic and lockdown so that we could give citizens of Spring Hill in 2220 a snapshot of what our lives were like,” said Juriew. “They submitted some fun and poignant ideas, and we’ve just about filled the capsule. We’re also including submissions from our “Diary of a Pandemic Kid” project, where we asked the children of Spring Hill to write a journal page with cartoons of their experiences. We had over 200 submissions!”
Getting the capsule in the ground is also a community effort. Assistant City Administrator Chuck Downham is overseeing the project, and Public Works Supervisor Tyler Scroggins is overseeing the burial. Library patron Bill Stanfill donated a three foot by five-foot case. Ed Butler is engineering the preservation. Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Pulaski will be sending welding students to the library to complete the final seal.
“We’re using acid-free paper when we can,” added Juriew, “in vacuum-sealed pouches, and copying to disc and an external hard drive so that we have our images and documents in multiple formats, in hopes they will survive 25 years in the nitrogen gas. Then we’ll ask our future colleagues to re-preserve them using the latest tools and technology for another 25-75 years.”
So far, they have quite an assortment of items to share with the future. First and foremost, the essentials of the year – a mask, sanitizer, and toilet paper – have been placed in the capsule.
Other items represent the city and state, like 2020 coins and flags of the United States, Tennessee and the City of Spring Hill. Items from every-day life and collectibles include a letter to Santa with a stamp, a baby Yoda, Doordash delivery gift cards, books by local authors and hot books from 2020, and a Hatch Show Print. There is also a history of the library, highlights from local organizations, articles from the local media, and modern and historical photos and videos of the area. One of the things they are not including are items related to politics, they are leaving that to the history books. They are still taking suggestions by filling out this form. But hurry says Juriew!
“On library history,” said Juriew, “I’d also add that we had the foresight to celebrate our 44th anniversary in 2019 with Mrs. Pat Selle who started this library back in 1975 ALL BY HERSELF. She purchased the African-American Freedman’s School for the library’s first building. It is a great story and she is truly adorable. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 81! She is the Queen of the Library, and she will be celebrated as such in the time capsule. Her portrait hangs in the library like Queen Elizabeth II all over England.”
Currently, everyone is welcome to come to the library any time and sign the outside of the capsule. The community will be invited to come back and watch the library staff fill the capsule with the items, add the nitrogen gas, weld it shut, dig a giant hole with a backhoe and bury it behind the library, close to the creek.
“We will also film the event,” said Juriew. “The date is still to be determined. You can follow us on Facebook or check our website, www.springhilllibrary.org, or subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about this and other great library events. Though we had plans for a party back in May, this will likely be our only event to celebrate the library’s 45th anniversary. Our 50th will be May 3, 2025, and you can bet there will be a big party for that!”
Juriew says that their busy little library is always doing exciting and sometimes weird things to keep the community excited about books, and involved. “Check us out on Facebook Live,” added Juriew, “until the time when we can be together again in the library multipurpose room and in the community!”