Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

April 30, 2014

Pat Smith: Honoring Lois Laskowski

Pat Smith
Daily News

---- — Last Sunday was a special day for those attending the First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg.

At the regular church service Lois Laskowski was honored for the 35 years of service and dedication she has spent as the church librarian. It was the opportunity for members of the church to acknowledge the work Lois has done and thank her for the continued growth and popularity of the library.

It wasn’t an easy task, as Polly Matlock told the congregation, because Lois actually had to start the library. Polly told how Rock Linville, chairman of the Christian education committee at the time, asked Lois to investigate the possibility of starting a library. Polly listed the many important happenings in the news during the year of 1979. Known for her cleverness in writing minutes of the Presbyterian Women and the church’s Friendship and Talent group, she told how in 1979 the United States and China began diplomatic relations, the Today Show got a new theme song, Billy Martin was named the manager of the Oakland A’s, Heavyweight Muhammad Ali confirmed that his third retirement was final – except that it wasn’t; Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued, the first US coin to honor a woman; Saddam Hussein officially became head of state in Iraq, and other events of 1979 concluding with “and Lois Laskowski agreed to be librarian for the First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg.”

Those who know Lois will agree that if she says she will tackle something it will get a vast amount of her attention. So it was that in 1979 she began the research to determine if the church would benefit from such a library. After investigating the issue she reported that indeed a library would be an asset to the members of the congregation. She has been proven correct.

The library she envisioned has grown from no books to a few books to more than 1,875 books and includes 54 VHS tapes and DVDs.

It is especially interesting to make note of something that has puzzled many residents for several years and that it might have been solved. It has been written and passed down orally that there were two small libraries in Greensburg before the present library was built. Although there were hints, no one could say for certain where these libraries were housed.

Polly Matlock noted in her introduction Sunday that early First Presbyterian Church history has shown that “a printed catalog, dated in 1878, and listing more than 400 books were housed in the church library. That was before the city started thinking about building a library.”

It is known that in 1901 Mayor Willoughby did petition Andrew Carnegie to help Greensburg in its quest to have a library for the public. Carnegie donated $15,000 to help the city begin and the site of the Watson foundry (North Michigan Ave.) was chosen the next year for the location.

The doors were opened for patrons to begin borrowing books in 1905.

It would not be unusual for this church to have seen a need in the community and do something about it. The church started a mission and industrial school in 1990. This school was open to children for 30 years. Well over 200 children were enrolled at one time. The classes included sewing, cooking and other courses designed to help the young people as they came of age and going out into the world with a skill.

Lois spoke briefly saying that she hoped the members of the church would give the new librarian Marilyn Millis as much cooperation and assistance as they have always given her. After the church service the members and guests were invited to the monthly pitch-in dinner. The centerpiece of the event was a cake made especially to pay tribute to the outgoing librarian. It was especially made in the shape of a book on a pedestal.

There are two adult classes that meet at 9:30 a.m. before the church service at 10:30, “Sunday Conversations,” in which members discuss current topics and how the topic might fit in with the world today, and the Adult Bible Study group focuses on the written words from the Bible.

A popular weekly event is the Family Faith Night which was started in 2007 and has grown in many ways every year since. They meet on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. during the school year, and each week the there is a meal, Bible lessons, various games and crafts, a youth group, community service and interesting field trips.

The Rev. Bob McAulay is the interim pastor and the website is