Friday, June 16, 2017

Libraries; News Review Rocks

"As a result of declining timber receipt and dwindling reserve funds the Board is tasked with making very difficult decisions to ensure that basic public safety needs and other essential services for the community are met." stated County Commissioner Chris Boice.

Those are the last words found on the Douglas County Library home page.  The web page may appear to offer more  options, but they are no longer linked to anything.  It's a dead page.

This was the caption on November 30, 2016 Charlotte Herbert wrote the following letter to the News Review Editor:

 Stop the talk, vote for the library

          " How can anyone think library supporters have not thoroughly explored ALL funding solutions? Library staff and supporters have been thinking about alternative funding for 20 years. Ever since 1996, when repeated budget cuts made our libraries fall below minimum standards.
            "Can we use volunteers? Josephine County now funds and operates its four branches by relying on many volunteers. This is so unworkable that both staff and volunteers are now planning a May 2017 ballot measure like ours. Can cities pay more? Not one city has stepped forward in the past five years to help Douglas County run the library. Can't donors step in? We have donors, but they do not fund operations, just "extras," like new books.
            "The Save Our Libraries Committee has boxes of research on libraries and how to fund them. They've done countless interviews. They've held countless public meetings . . ."

           To add to that concern, this was posted on November 19, 2016:     
                     "Once upon a time, we were so dedicated to improving our community that we as a county banded together to form a single library system. It was well funded and fully staffed by professional librarians. The branches were open often enough that people could visit them regularly. And a beautiful new library was built to house the Roseburg branch, in part thanks to generous donations from the Ford family.
            "It was emblematic of a time when we looked forward, planned for the future, invested in our kids, valued learning.

            "It’s a good story, yes? But it may turn out to have a very unhappy ending. The voters’ rejection of a library district this month, we may well be facing the demise of the Douglas County Library System.

            "Since you are reading this editorial right now, we assume you are generally in favor of literacy." 

On November 30, 2016 Carisa Cegavske, Senior Staff Writer for The News Review wrote:

            "There were tears from a Glide teacher who said she “just can’t believe people failed” a library district measure earlier this month, and cheers for the father of a home-schooled girl who raised money for the library through a bake sale."
            It's not that voters were opposed to keeping libraries opened so much as it was against paying even more in taxes.  Evidently the city of Sutherlin had already opted out before the bill was proposed.  Property taxes were/are too high before the bill.   

          There was talk about Reedsport possibly joining forces with Coos County, which seemed to make sense in my mind.  It always appeared to be disjointed whenever I looked at the map

          It actually takes less time for us to get to Coos Bay than to Reedsport - not that I've ever been to Reedsport.  I was told that it is over a two hour drive. 

by KCBY Tuesday, March 28th 2017
“The Reedsport library is one of the most important places in Reedsport.” [says Reedport's librarian Sue Cousineau]

Cousineau is also optimistic.

“The Reedsport library will be here one way or another because the people in this area care so much about their library.”

Cousineau will stay on through April to help volunteers set up their reading room. Then, after 13 years running the Reedsport Library, she’ll be out of a job.
 I provided a link for this next article in this post       

MYRTLE CREEK — The Myrtle Creek branch of the Douglas County Library System closed its doors Thursday.

In its final hours, library patrons read and talked, used the computers and collected books, as a documentary film crew from San Francisco’s Serendipity Films moved around them, gathering stories for a film on the history of the American public library and the challenges those libraries face today.
And the challenges in Myrtle Creek and Douglas County are very, very real. The county government, strapped for cash, announced it would be unable to fund the county libraries through the end of the year. A November ballot measure that would have created a library district tax to keep the libraries opened was rejected by voters. Subsequently, the closure dates were announced — April 1 for the 10 rural branches and May 31 for the main branch in Roseburg. A task force has been convened to seek a long-term funding solution.

Meanwhile, library boards, city councilors and a host of book-loving volunteers are scrambling to fill the breach in Myrtle Creek and other cities around the county.

There’s been a library in Myrtle Creek in some form for 105 years, and quite a few town residents say they have no intention of giving it up. Already, 35 volunteers have signed up to work shifts at the library and they plan to reopen it on July 1.

On Thursday, the prevailing mood at the library was sadness.

Karen Rivera, mother of 12-year-old Jaime Rivera, wiped away tears as she talked about what the loss meant to her and her daughter. It was hard enough adjusting to a small library open only part-time after they moved here from Salt Lake City a couple years ago. She and Jaime were reading the book “Zillah and Me” together Thursday. They’ve been reading together since Jaime was born.

“I’m really bummed,” Karen Rivera said. “The library offered a way for us to get together, to feed our minds. We’ve always been a poor family, and being able to go to the library programs has given our family something to do for free.”

“Being able to borrow books from the library to gain information, that was awesome,” Jaime said. “Now this is going to be ripped away from us, and it sucks.”

This wasn’t Marilyn Brouillard’s first rodeo, though. Brouillard, longtime volunteer and incidentally the mayor’s wife, lived in Redding, California, almost 30 years ago when the Shasta County Library System closed down.

Back then, her son checked out a collection of books beginning with the words “The Last.” On Thursday, Brouillard copied his example.

She checked out 10 books with titles like “The Last Star,” “The Last Sin Eater,” “The Last Battle,” and “The Last Apocalypse.”

She doesn’t know if she’ll get to read them all before the final book return date of April 25.

“I just never thought I’d go through this a second time,” she said.

 She said she’s impressed, though, by the number of people who have signed up to volunteer.

Myrtle Creek Librarian Hannah Merrill is out of a job, but said she tried her best to make the library’s last day a happy one for the people who love it. She said she plans to return to school to get an English degree, and would like to become a fiction editor.

“I’ve always had a love for books,” she said.

Connie Earp wondered where the children would go. The library is a source of knowledge for them, she said, and she loves watching their little faces light up during story time.

To have that disappear, she said, “it’s just the saddest thing.”

Five-year-old Jameson Bury clutched a book about dinosaurs as his mother wondered what they’d do until the library reopened with an all-volunteer staff in July. His mother said she visits the library every week with Jameson and his little brother.

“I can’t read library books for story time any more,” Jameson said. Asked if that made him feel sad, he nodded.

“I’m really depressed about it,” Melissa Bury said. “They’ve grown up with this library. It’s someplace we really love to come.”

          Carissa had already left when the Myrtle Creek Library board members held their final meeting (see here)

          On April 30, 2017 News Review gave us this story headline:

WINCHESTER — Umpqua Community College is inviting the public to visit its library. As Douglas County commissioners move forward with plans to close the county’s sole remaining library in Roseburg, UCC wants the community to know its library is still an option for people who love books.

“We just want the public to know they still have a place to go and check out books,” McGeehon said.

The library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. The library is not open on weekends. For more information, call 541-440-4640.

HBO put out this news segment video: 

          Some cities have been working at creating a library or at least offering a reading room strictly staffed by volunteers.  The city of Riddle has continued to fund their building.  As Jenna had a dentist appointment in Riddle about a week before we went out of town, we stopped by and she signed up for their summer reading program - even though Myrtle Creek will also be sponsoring a reading program in addition to Coffenberry Middle School. 

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