She's as lithe and lissom as an Olympics hurdles runner.
But Casey McPhee lives in the world of the mind, not sports.
What comes to mind with this old timer is what libraries used to be like. A youngster, in the stacks, is absorbed in some fascinating reading when he jumps out of his skin by a "may I help you?"
That from a librarian who, clad in those crepe sole shoes that allowed silent running, could approach noiselessly.
Libraries were quiet places in those days.
Now they are bustling noisy places with the pandemonium of a child care center, people swilling expensive coffee and gorging on chi-chi sandwiches.
This is what McPhee is presiding over at the new majestic Largo Public Library.
She succeeds Barbara Murphey who stepped down with the opening of this new grand edifice. Murphey had been Largo's librarian for 36 years.
Keep this in mind -- everyone is ga-ga over the new building, located across from the Cultural Center on that big lot where cars used to park for the Renaissance Festival. But, not to worry -- you can't miss it.
Yes, everyone is ga-ga over it, but they were equally so when the old library, just down the street, opened and was regarded, in Largo terms, as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now it is scorned as a "dump." Sic transit gloria librorium.
McPhee is new and fresh, bright and sprightly just like the new building she will preside over. She will always be -- in terms of being Largo's librarian -- the same age as the new building that soars against the skyline.
McPhee is one of those rarities -- a native Floridian. She was born and grew up in St. Petersburg. She attended St. Petersburg Junior College and then took a degree in library science at the University of South Florida.
Since she was a tyke, McPhee was a reader. Like so many book fiends, she can barely remember when she couldn't read. Her mother was a school teacher, so the reading began very early. She prefers (glory be!) non-fiction reading.
Her working life after college took McPhee to the Dunedin Public Library and then to Pasco County where she worked in Hudson as the collection development manager.
In 2002, Diane Bruner, Largo's city clerk, with whom McPhee went to high school suggested there might be an opening at the Largo Library. She came to Largo in 2002 and says she felt at home immediately. It figures.
Coming to Largo meant learning a new phase. She was tabbed as a prospective successor to Murphey so McPhee had to learn the administrative process. Obviously, she measured up, and was in on the planning and work for the new library from the beginning. So she is well grounded in the new building and all its facilities over which she now presides.
Yes, the new building is majestic. There is a feeling of plenty of room as one enters the lobby where the coffee and sandwich stand beckons. The lobby's walls are dedicated to the name plaques of those who pitched in dollars and helped the new library become a reality.
Names appear on the walls inside the library itself, honoring those who were of premier help. The Fauchers are recognized as you make your way to the children's section.
The administrative area is styled the "Barbary Murphey Wing" and "The George E. Feaster Collection" is in equally large letters as one enters the area where fiction (good stuff and junk) is shelved.
It is startling, in a way, to see the names of living persons tacked up on the walls in big letters.
Casey is not a nickname. It is McPhee's given name. She is pleasant, gracious, down to earth, calm, unpretentious. She is married to Lee and they have a 5-year-old, Ian.
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