This morning I was doing my daily perusal of Instagram when I saw a picture that stopped me in my tracks: It was Mayor Damon Seils, of Carrboro, inside what appeared to be the giant crane building the new library. He was 140 feet in the air. (There’s also a video!)

Mayor Seils climbed up a lot of stairs to get to the top of the crane.

As someone who loves libraries but hates heights, I was intrigued. So I reached out to Mayor Seils, who graciously entertained these questions.

You appear to be back on the ground now after climbing a very tall crane. Are you scared of heights?

A little. When I reached about 40 feet or so, I paused to ask myself if I really wanted to continue. Then I continued. It was nothing compared to the time I went skydiving outside of Salisbury!

Mayor Damon Seils, far above Carrboro.

Could you see the ends of the earth? Or Durham?

It was a clear, sunny morning. So the view was beautiful—trees for miles. I couldn’t help thinking about the importance of concentrating future development of the towns within our existing planning areas and of reaffirming our commitment to maintaining the Rural Buffer and our joint planning agreement with Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill. The better we are at achieving a compact urban footprint, the more we can enjoy being nestled in the beautiful forests and farmland of the Piedmont.

Is there a spot to pee if you need to up in the crane?

Only if you climb back down. And that’s one of the reasons I climbed back down.

What was the best part of being up there?

Aside from the view, the best part about being up there and on the construction site was the tour by the Town’s capital projects manager. He knows every inch of the site and how things are progressing. The work is now at a stage that you can begin to envision what the finished product will look and feel like. We’re less than a year away!

And lastly, when will the groundbreaking for the library be? My family can’t wait.

The building is scheduled for completion next summer. Town staff will begin moving in at that time, opening up much needed space in the Century Center and Town Hall. I don’t yet know the county’s timeline for opening the library to the public. When they do, the library will be a great addition to Carrboro’s downtown, a stimulus for local businesses, and an important educational and cultural resource for the residents of southern Orange County.

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Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....