Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Riddle Rocks

More from The News Review – representing Douglas County

Riddle is moving forward with a plan to reopen its library and even check out books.

The smaller branches that were once part of the Douglas County Library System shut down April 1, victims of the financial crisis faced by county government. While the county’s Library Futures Task Force continues to search for a long-term solution, many cities have come to the conclusion their best bet, at least for now, is to take charge of their own libraries.

Previously, libraries had been told by the county they could reopen, but only as reading rooms. Under that model, county-owned books would remain with each branch, but would have to be read on site and couldn’t be checked out. The county would no longer provide a computer catalog.

But Riddle began looking into a way around that. It’s been investigating smaller computer catalog services it could contract with on its own, and it sought an intergovernmental agreement with the county that would allow it to provide its own catalog and resume checking out books.

Monday, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved Riddle’s proposal.

Rita Radford, director of library services for the Riddle City Library, said Monday she anticipates Riddle will become a model for other cities that want to reopen their libraries but aren’t satisfied with the reading room approach.

Radford said Riddle will be able to use the county’s computers, scrubbed of the county’s software, and acquire catalog software of its own. The city, which owns the library building, will provide internet and Wi-Fi service.

Radford said most of the other library branches have expressed interest in following suit. Riddle is forging ahead with the approval of its city council, which is eager to have the library reopen.

Riddle’s reopening is planned for 3 p.m. June 6, and a full slate of summer programs for kids is in the works. It includes a gardening program with Master Gardeners, story telling, music, a Peter and the Wolf musical presentation, a puppet show called “Dogs to the Rescue,” and a rock painting “extravaganza.” Family events will include a pre-solar-eclipse party and a professional magic show.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Radford said.

The library has a list of about 40 volunteers, who will keep the library open five hours each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Radford is a volunteer herself, though she was formerly a paid library assistant.

“It’s a passion for me. I just love the library and I want to see it continue and be a help to the community,” she said.

Radford said she’s very thankful Riddle received the go ahead to work toward checking out books.

“The reading room is a cute little idea, but it doesn’t serve the public very well,” she said. “Very, very few people have the time to sit down and read at the library. Most of them would rather go home and read in their pajamas.”

Three libraries — Reedsport, Oakland and Sutherlin — have reopened already, and several more plan to reopen this summer. The Reedsport branch, now called the Reedsport Public Library, has also requested an agreement with the county that would allow it to check out books. At this time, though, it can’t afford the cost of a cataloging system, according to City Manager Jonathan Wright. Both Oakland and Sutherlin have begun local book collections so that some books can be checked out.

The Roseburg branch remains open until the end of the month.

  • The News-Review Editorial Board
  • May 11, 2017

Unwilling to see their libraries die, community members and city leaders in those towns were ready to reopen virtually the day their libraries closed down. They had dozens of volunteers signed up to staff their libraries. In Sutherlin, for example, where the library shutdown lasted a single day, a team of 50 volunteers has signed up to keep the library open as many hours as before closure. While they aren’t checking out the county-owned books, they’ve collected several hundred of their own that they are checking out. Reedsport plans to put its own regional district up for a vote this November. Riddle, which plans a June reopening, and Reedsport are working on obtaining catalog systems so they can check out the county-owned books at their branches. These cities have become examples that others, including Roseburg, should seriously consider following.

Libraries in some communities remain closed, awaiting some action from the county. It’s their patrons who have suffered from that miscalculation, and if Roseburg doesn’t move very quickly, their library patrons will suffer as well. A community without a library is a poorer, and ultimately a dumber one. Roseburg owes it to its citizens to give them what they voted for — a library whose doors remain open. We hope to see a solid plan for how to do that emerge as soon as possible.

Sutherlin, Oakland and Reedsport have been more proactive. They’ve opened their libraries again as reading rooms, by using all-volunteer staffing, and Riddle this week gained permission from the county to pursue obtaining its own cataloging system so it could check out books once it reopens in June.

Sutherlin, Oakland and Reedsport libraries have already reopened, with intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) signed with the county. The IGAs are necessary because while all the cities outside Roseburg own their library buildings, the county owns the books. Sutherlin is open the same hours as before the branch closures, with volunteer staffing, while Oakland is open on Fridays. Reedsport has even gathered enough money to keep a paid librarian, at least for the next three months.

Yoncalla has signed an IGA to reopen as a “reading room plus,” as has Riddle. The “plus” allows these libraries to check out books if they acquire their own catalog systems. Riddle plans to reopen at 3 p.m. June 6. Glendale is close to getting an IGA signed. It plans to reopen in the summer, and have a bookworm mascot, and a summer reading program. It’s short on volunteers and money, but plans to publicize its grand opening with a poster campaign and a Fourth of July parade float. Myrtle Creek has an active group of 50 volunteers and has formed a nonprofit to raise funds. It hopes to have the library reopened by July 1.

Winston and Canyonville do not yet have plans to reopen their libraries. Winston leaders are concerned about a shortage of volunteers.

Drain has scheduled two community meetings at 7 p.m. May 25 and 2 p.m. June 3 at the Drain Civic Center, 205 West A Ave. to determine what residents want to do about the library. The city has had offers of financial donations, but is short on volunteers.

         Riddle had their grand-opening and library kick off the day that Jeanie passed away.  Jenna and I had gone to the library on the first as she had a dentist appointment and we were already in the area anyway. She signed up for the summer reading program though she is already doing one through school and will be doing one through Myrtle Creek.  I was told I could sign up for a library card but that it would cost eight dollars (as we don’t reside in Riddle) We’d like to incorporate Myrtle Creek, Canyonville and Riddle to operate together and thought I would weigh it out. 

Roland told me to go ahead and get a card so that I could check out some audio books to listen to on the road.  I wish he had gone to pick them out himself.  He always ends up making an audio book purchase as I don’t do well with selection – not that there was much to choose from.  Mostly Nora Roberts collection which I just didn’t think he’d be interested in. 

Myrtle Creek's summer kick off does not start until July 3.  At this point we don't even know where that will be as the city has not made a commitment for location.  But I will save that for another post.  Oh, we’re not done.  There is and will be more.

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