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Verdugo Views: Librarian remembers her tour of duty well

August 28, 2010

School librarians often have stories to tell, and Barbara Canady, who signed on as librarian at Glendale High in 1958, is no exception.

Canady's office was in the tower, just below the clock, of the high school built in 1924 at the corner of Broadway and Verdugo Road. Her office was the setting for a story involving a tradition that the outgoing senior class president would be dunked into the fish pond in the Senior Glen.

One year, that outgoing president hid in the tower above her office, trying to escape his pursuers, who came up the back stairs. They thought they could get into the tower, but the stairway had been blocked by shelves that were nearly ceiling high. So, Canady said, they just climbed over the shelves and into her office.

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"There I was with all these big boys coming over the wall, at least half a dozen," she said. "Once they realized there was no access to the tower, they ran out of the library door, looking for some other way in."

Another story was set in the library itself.

"Some kids broke in and piled up a couple of thousand books on the floor," she said. "They must have been surprised in some way because they ran away."

Canady arrived the next morning to find the mess.

"Those kids ended up meeting with the principal a couple of days later," she said.

Then, friends of theirs continued the prank by emptying some of the drawers from the library's card catalog. When Canady came to work, she found several of her brightest students sitting around the tables studying. They asked her a question that led her to look up the answer in the card catalog and that's when she discovered the missing cards.

"I'm sure they were there that morning to see my face when I opened the drawers. There were funny looks on their faces." About 20 drawers were empty, she added.

"These were bright kids," she said. "They often studied in the library before school. I never knew which of them were the perpetrators."

Later, the cards were found in a bag above the janitor's closet.

"This was 1963 or so," she said in a recent interview. "Many people living in Glendale will remember these incidents. They were from respectable families and, yes, they were all penalized."

Canady was only the second librarian to serve at the Broadway campus. Her father, a skilled craftsman, built several furnishings for the room, including a book return, lectern and a book repair truck.

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