As the wife of a U.S. Naval officer, Derlie Bland traveled the world, visiting many places she had read about as a child. Throughout her travels she always held a special place in her heart for her hometown of Baxley, Georgia, where she was born on a farm in 1913. The second oldest of ten children, Derlie Bland discovered early that she loved being surrounded by children, especially when reading books aloud to them.
House of Pooh Corner, Tales of the Alhambra and The Secret Garden were among her favorites. As a mother, Derlie shared her love of reading with her son, reading to him daily. Later her grandchildren were the beneficiaries of her love for reading.
A fund created in her memory by her loving husband of 50 years, Vice-Admiral Earl Frank Rectanus created a children’s reading room and adjacent garden courtyard area for the Appling County Public Library. It was her hope that children who visit the library would discover the magic carpet of reading and use it to travel the world, making lifelong friends of the characters they meet in the pages of its books.
The library has been replaced by a new library, but the funds continue to provided annual support to ensure that the children’s reading room continues to draw children and encourage their love for reading. In this new era,technology resources have been added to encourage children to explore.