All Blacktip Island outgoing mayor Jack Cobia’s correspondence and documents from his time in office will be archived in the Caribbean island’s new mayoral library. (photo courtesy of Jack Cobia)
Following a surprising recount loss in this month’s mayoral election, outgoing mayor Jack Cobia announced Thursday he will create Blacktip Island’s first mayoral library to house all documents from his years in office.
“Folks call it arrogant, but I have a legacy to protect,” Cobia said. “They’ve got no clue the amount of time and effort that goes into running an island this size. I’m making all that public. For posterity. For the people.
“Every note, email, text and bar napkin’ll be downloadable,” Cobia said. “There’ll also be a searchable database so researchers can look up stuff by topic. The database is pretty small, but that actually helps with research.”
Library designers say interactive displays will bring Cobia’s tenure to life.
“There’ll be a scale model of the Sandy Bottoms bar, where Jack did most of his business, so visitors can get a feel for a day in his life,” said Ferris Skerritt, of the Skerritt and Skulpin architect firm. “They can also check out mobile readers and sit in their choice of bar stools, hammocks or toilet stalls.
“We’ll have video screens showing clips of Jack in action, too,” Skerritt said. “Everything from him leading the St. Dervil’s parade to singing karaoke at the Tail Spinner. It’ll be first class all the way.”
Many were critical of the proposed facility.
“Jack’s going passive-aggressive after he lost. At public expense,” Frank Maples said. “Who in their right mind would read his emails. Or see what he had for lunch or who he met for drinks five years ago? Researchers? Seriously?
“And I guarantee no one wants to watch video of Jack singing ‘Fat Bottom Girls’ off-key on the karaoke machine,” Maples said. It is appropriate there’s toilet seating, though. Now if they could just invent something that prints documents on toilet paper printer, that would be perfect.”
Island visitors, though, praised the concept.
“It’ll be something different to do in the afternoons, won’t it?” said Club Scuba Doo guest Amarillis Tang. “Especially for the non-divers and the kiddos. You don’t get anything like that on other islands. It’s a glimpse inside how local politics works – in bars, at parties, out fishing, that local color sort of thing.”
Some residents were inspired by the planned library.
“Gonna get me one of those memorial reading rooms, too,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Let folks stand in a scale model Ballyhoo, read the bar food menus and watch curling on TV.
“Or maybe sit in the Sand Spit toilet and read the graffiti,” Bottoms said. “Wrote most of it myself, you know. The good stuff, anyway.”