Library dedicates atrium in honor of ex-director

The memory of the late Steve Suckow was in the literal limelight Saturday afternoon.

The sun shone through the Bartholomew County Public Library atrium named for Suckow in a 40-minute ceremony before about 50 people, including his family and friends.

Suckow, who died in January 2023 at age 85, was the longest serving local library director ever, at the helm from 1967 to 2003. Jason Hatton, current library director, was among those saluting Suckow.

Suckow arrived at the library when the current building on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus was being constructed by renowned architect I.M. Pei. Suckow guided the library through that process and beyond.

”This would have been difficult for even the most experienced librarian,” Hatton said at the ceremony. ” … Steve was just 30 years old and never had held a public library director’s position. John Keech, president of the library board, at that time, said, ‘He didn’t have the experience, but he had the ambition and intelligence to do the job.’

“That ambition and intelligence served him well.”

Hatton also offered general praise after the gathering.

“He built the foundation of the modern library that we have today,” Hatton said.

Hatton mentioned that naming the first floor atrium space for Suckow is both ideal and symbolic.

“This space connects the old building with the new, bridging that transition that sometimes is rocky,” Hatton said. “Steve did that masterfully.”

Speakers also honoring Suckow included former library director Beth Poor and Suzanne Normington, Suckow’s daughter.

“The time was a good mix of reflection and celebration,” Hatton said.