Snowstorm stirs servant’s heart in AU librarian

A snowstorm bringing as much as 11 inches of snow to parts of the Upstate in February created havoc on the roads, cancelled classes and church services, and closed many businesses throughout the state. It was delightful for school kids, who got to stay home to make snowmen with their siblings, but what about the thousands of students at South Carolina’s Baptist universities?

Though classes were cancelled, students at Anderson University still needed the academic resources of the Thrift Library on campus to keep up with the rigors of college academia — even if the snow and ice prevented the staff from getting to and from campus. Enter librarian Kay Maynard, who surprised her colleagues by volunteering to spend several nights in the library so that it could remain open for students.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of our students not having access to the library,” she said, “but I also couldn’t bear the thought of our staff out there on the roads the way they were.”

Maynard, who by her own admission could have retired several years ago, can’t pull herself away from her duties at AU — even if it means sleeping in the office on a borrowed residence-hall bed. At least it was in a library, so she knew it would be quiet.

“I want the students to know I’m here for them,” she said. “To me, this is a ministry. I’ve felt led to stay late some nights, only to have a Korean exchange student come up and ask me to pray with her to receive Christ. God has me here for a reason.”

The storm passed, and life soon returned to normal on campus. Maynard says she would do it all again “in a heartbeat.”

One burning question remained for many who talked to Maynard after her overnight library adventure: What about food?

“Oh,” she says. “I stocked up at Chick-fil-A before the snow set in.”

— Barry Ray is director of marketing and communications for Anderson University.