Friday, February 24, 2006

A Library Ghost Story

It had to happen sooner or later.

Wednesday night, I was just about to put on my sleeping garb when the telephone rang. It was the alarm monitoring service. The alarm had been set off in the Main Library. They asked how long it would take for me to get there (10 - 15 minutes, I said, it was more like 8), and they said that they would notify the police.

For those who have not seen the building, think of a big "U." There are three public floors (each wing and the middle are a large box -- literally from a construction view point). There are seven floors of closed stacks which fill the middle of the "U." The staff parking lot is behind the building, and the stacks look out onto the lot.

I pulled into the lot, and ALL of the lights on the fifth floor (no access to the public floor) are on. I think to my self that's odd. I activated the back door (different security system), and read the alarm panel. It said the garage door was open. I went back out and looked. Sure enough, the garage door for the delivery van was open. I walked through the building (turning on more lights) and went to the garage, closed the door and returned. I then went to the 5th floor, turned off the lights (after ensuring that no one was there), cleared the alarm panel, and hung out for about 30 minutes waiting for the cops to show. No cops. At about 11 pm, I headed home.

Next morning on my way in, I ran into the night custodian. He said to me, "Was the garage door closed when you left last night?" I had left a little before him. I admitted I had not noticed. He said, well, I'm sure I closed it, but I had to close it again before I could set the alarm. Hmmmm, I thought.

I then went to talk to the Library Maintenance Manager. He told me that he had been called just before midnight. He came down to find three cop cars: one in the front, two in the back. The garage door was open. He saw lights going on in the stacks as they checked the building. He went in, calling loudly so that the officers would not be scared. When he got to the sixth floor, he opened the door in to the stacks to be greeted by a cop with his gun drawn. "Shh, do you hear that? I hear pages turning!" He and the other three officers had heard these noises during their stack search. After ensuring the building was empty, the cops cleared out in a hurry.

Then at about 5:30 am, the alarm company called my manager again. This time the garage door was open about a foot. He went in, and looked in the delivery van and saw the remote control sitting on the dash, but the red light was on, indicating that it was operating the door!

Now, you have to understand, that there are several staff who swear that over the years they have encountered a ghost in the stacks. Usually on the sixth or seventh floors (near the historical materials). Generally the ghost is friendly, and often helps finds missing items. There is even a story that her name is Lola.

Back to the garage....with the door closed again, my manager (who is larger than me!) called out: "All right Lola, if you are really here, make the door open!" Right then, the door started to open. He took the battery out of the remote as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end!

Well, we made it through Thursday night without interruption, so I think we have fixed the problem. But that is my library ghost story for today!


  1. This will make my ghost-obsessed 15 year old very happy!

  2. Quite spooky. Perhaps there was a thief in the library?

  3. There were no people in the building and there have been prior "sightings" and "experiences" reported with Lola.

  4. I suggest you say something to the ghost in the vein of 'please don't open the door again because it disturbs the alarm system. We don't mind you being here and we hope you don't mind us.. let's be friends.' I had similar encounters and that is what I resorted to. It worked for me and may work for you. No harm trying. You don't have to make sure Lola is around. Just stand in the area where she has been sighted and say your piece. No, I'm not pulling your leg.