Librarians, historians, vintage baseball enthusiasts and genealogists gathered together last Friday at the Northville [Michigan] District Library to say farewell to longtime librarian Al Smitley, who retired after nearly 25 years of service.
Anyone who has ever sought historical or genealogical information at the library has more than likely encountered Al . . . or at least the collection of local history he has nurtured during his tenure.
In addition to local history, Al also has been the library’s resident baseball expert. He managed the library’s Fantasy Baseball Program for 20 years – a popular pastime for the community’s baseball enthusiasts. He also is a founding member and team historian of the Northville Eclipse Base Ball Club, our community’s vintage baseball team that “plays by the rules and gentlemanly conduct of the 1860’s.”
It is the Local History Room, however, that is unquestionably Al’s legacy.
Housed on the library’s lower level, the Local History Room is an invaluable repository of local history and genealogical information. Al has been the bulwark behind the development and management of the collection since its inception.
An extensive collection dedicated to local history and genealogy — and one that is housed in its own separate room —is unique for a community library, and the content of Northville’s collection is due in large measure to Al’s passion for local history.
Read the full article by Michele Fecht in the January 31, 2011 edition of the Northville Patch.