Hutchinson Library director undergoes 800 book checkout challenge

Prepared with a windbreaker, a thermos full of coffee, snacks and two library books, director Gregg Wamsley placed his warm knit hat on his head and sat down on his most comfortable outdoor chair at 10 am Wednesday morning on the roof of the Hutchinson Public Library on Main Street.

In celebration of National Library Week, Wamsley sat on the roof of the library until 800 books were checked out. By 3:30 pm, 400 books had been checked out, making it to the halfway point, according to updates on the library’s Facebook page.

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Hutchinson Public Library Director Gregg Wamsley waves to a family from the roof of the library Wednesday morning, April 6, 2022. Wamsley is sitting on the roof until 800 books are checked out of the library as part of National Library Week, April 3-9 , 2022.

Wamsley said this was the first time he was sitting on a roof. He said it was not his idea, but it was a good one.

“I think it will be worth it and fun,” he said. “The goal is to reach 800 books and we arrived at that number because 800 books checked out is a typical ‘busy day’ for the library.”

A chart on the wall in the children’s section showed a graphic of a ladder; each rung stood for every 50 books checked out. The label at the 50 level read, “We hope Gregg’s survival skills are up to date.” At 400 it stated, “Halfway there,” and at 500 it read, “Gregg’s statement: PLEASE check out many more books.”

Evelyn Lawrence, 4, carries a snack and her two books that she checked out with her grandfather Raymond Holloway Wednesday morning at the Hutchinson Public Library.  Lawrence checks out a book every week but to help Wamsley out, she and her grandfather checked out two books instead of one.

When the rungs reached the 700 mark it stated, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but Gregg hopes it’s the end of roof times.” At 750 the statement read, “Gregg might drop water balloons on anyone leaving without a library item.” When the ladder hit 800, the statement read, “Gregg gets rescued!”

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During the week, the library placed banned books in large envelopes, allowing people to check them out without knowing the title. On Friday and Saturday, the Friends of the Hutchinson Public Library is having a book sale in the auditorium. There will be a sack sale Saturday afternoon.

Hutchinson Public Library Director Gregg Wamsley reads a book about oceans that was videotaped while he sits on the roof of the library Wednesday morning, April 6, 2022, during pre-school storytime at the Hutchinson Public Library.  Wamsley ended the video by asking the children to please check out books so he can get off of the roof.

During preschool storytime, children watched a video of Wamsley as he read a book about oceans while he was on the roof of the library. As the children arrived at the library they could see Wamsley on the roof and they waved at him as he encouraged them to check out books so he could get down. Wamsley was located on the west canopy roof over the southwest entrance to the library’s children’s department.

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