Donation to library honors man’s mother

LEWISTOWN – A local man is giving back to the library where he spent his childhood.

William “Bill” Daup, of Burnham, has donated $10,000 to the Mifflin County Library, in honor of his mother, Barbara Messner Daup. He said Barbara always has been a library supporter and brought him to the library regularly when he was a child.

The Daups, originally of Mifflintown, visited the Mifflin County Library when it was located on the corner of South Brown and Water streets – before there was a Juniata County Library.

“We came about every two weeks, and we only could get about three books at a time,” Bill said.

He had an insatiable desire for more books, he said, and he always looked forward to their next trip.

“He couldn’t wait till he could learn to read,” Barbara recalled.

She said she bought him comic books that he would read over and over again.

“Bill was a real reader. He kept a file of the books he read … he read all the time,” she said.

Bill even read at dinner, though his parents said he shouldn’t. Eventually, Barbara said, she and her husband decided to let him bring a book to the table.

During his childhood, Bill enjoyed series books – especially the “Miss Pickerell” series, written about an elderly woman adventurer. He also read The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins.

Bill and Mifflin County Library Executive Director Molly Kinney, who have known each other since childhood, said the library didn’t have a teen reading section when they were borrowing books in the 1960s.

“When we got to sixth grade … we went straight from the children’s section right to the adult section,” Kinney said.

Bill and Barbara are still avid readers. Barbara said she most enjoys love stories and mysteries.

“We’re both big mystery fans,” Bill agreed.

Barbara said her favorite author is Janet Evanovich. Bill said he most enjoys Agatha Christie, an English mystery writer.

“I’m sure I wouldn’t love books as much as I do without (my mother’s) influence,” Bill said. “Education has always been important in our family.”

“Before any of us could drive, our moms were driving us to the library,” Kinney said. “That intergenerational commitment to libraries is one of our strengths.”

Kinney said community support for small, rural libraries is crucial.

“Healthy libraries are important for healthy communities,” Bill said.