Showing posts with label libraries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label libraries. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jenna takes a stand

I realize my mind seems to be going in several directions . . . I still have my two classes to focus on, but did want to express how pleased I am with Jenna

          The Douglas County libraries have run out of funding (or soon will be) and had proposed a 44cent per day tax increase to all property owners.  The proposal made it to the ballot that was mailed just before the election.  Unfortunately, the bill did not pass and the libraries will be gone.

          Myrtle Creek had invested in a drop box that was put in just before the election.  I suppose it will be possible to salvage some libraries that may run independently as city libraries - but it sounds as if most libraries will close down.  Two had already opted out before the election.  We do not know what's to become of the rest.

          The building that houses the books at the Myrtle Creek library was built specifically to be a library, where many others have been offered space through the city . . . the library in Canyonville, for example, is sandwiched between the police station and city hall.                  

          Scott M. Stolz gave us 15 reasons why voting third party is not a wasted vote.  It is better to vote for something you want than to vote for something you don't want.  It is better to try to do something about this given situation even though it may not work. Jenna and I have been feeling quite helpless as we certainly don't have a way of funding the library either. On her own, she has decided to start a petition and has been gathering up signatures - mostly of classmates.

          The library's future was to be discussed at the city council meeting last night.  Jaime took her petition and faced the council as she read her plea that "most of those who signed the petition didn't get to vote.  They signed the petition so their voices might be heard" and "we are your future.  Don't take the libraries away from your future"

          She was nervous to face the council of adults, but I think they were impressed - not that it will change anything - but with the stand, she was willing to take.  She also let them know that she has written to various performers to see if they might contribute their talents to a benefit's concert. 

          I hope that Jenna may take this experience and recognize it as positive on her part regardless of what results are found.  As of now, it's just too early to say.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Unmagical History Tour

Ever since we moved to Myrtle Creek, I had been looking online for any history of the town or library.  It hadn't occurred to me that the library would have its own scrapbook - one that I'd love to copy and share.  Let me just start with the introductions on the display case - excluding the pictures that I don't have.

Humble Beginnings

The first library in Myrtle Creek was established in 1912 in a two room, unheated cabin by a group of local citizens that staged a parade and fair to collect enough books.  The monthly rent for the location was $5.00.  Patrons war charged $1.00 a year to use the library.  It was run solely by volunteers, which were hard to get because the place was unheated, and operated by donations.  Sadly, it was eventually closed because all the members of the group responsible for the library moved out of town.

New Beginnings

In 1950, the Girl Scout library in the basement of a local church became open to the public.  It was a very populate venture and due to the need for more space, the library was moved that same year to the second floor of [what was then] City Hall.  However, this location was not up to code and the Fire Marshall had to shut it down for safety reasons.  The library was moved to a much smaller location that did not fit its needs.  Our community still wanted their library system and the City stepped in to provide it.

The Library and the City

In 1952, the City of Myrtle Creek contracted a new police station that included space for the library our community needed.  While the library eventually outgrew that space, that cooperation has since been continued and the City is still dedicated to providing a safe and accommodating space for the library.

When the old city hall was demolished in 1958, the new plans [were made.  The library was located where public city council meetings are now conducted] The library remained in that space for eighteen years.  

Joining the Douglas County Library System

In 1955, the Douglas County Library System was founded with the Roseburg Library as the headquarters.  Cities were contacted about a cooperative effort to create a county wide library system.  Myrtle Creek already had an established library with an active library board and they were concerned about new leadership hindering the wonderful thing the library was doing.  The state librarian at the time, Eleanor Stephens, wrote to the library board stressing the importance of cooperation to maintain a strong library system. [Though Myrtle Creek had done well on their own, it] was pointed out how much more efficiently things could be accomplished with the support of a county library.

Sixty years ago, in 1956, the Myrtle Creek Public Library became the Myrtle Creek Branch of Douglas County Library Systems

Your Library's Current Home

Forty years ago, in the summer of 1976, the city of Myrtle Creek completed the construction of our current building. [Our librarian at that time was Wilma Gore who] retired in 1977.  The City of Myrtle Creek has continued to assist, recently helping the library replace the carpeting and will soon install a new outdoor book drop.

I'd gone to the library last week to meet with one of the board members to go through my binder and hopefully get a bit more insight to my new position.  Because of my management class and recent post, I had asked about our vision statement, which she didn't know.  She didn't think we even had a mission statement; that I had found in the binder and thus she wanted to look at it.  Meanwhile I googled the subject and found this from two years ago:

Mission: Douglas County Libraries is a passionate advocate for literacy and lifelong learning.

Vision: Through engagement, education and entertainment, Douglas County Libraries transforms lives and builds community.

I edited my discussion post to include the vision and mission statements and added this:
Our goals right now are to save the library.

She reminisced a bit about growing up in Myrtle Creek, what it was like then and how so much has been lost over the years.  She remembered seeing more traffic.  Before Mill site park, there was actually a grist mill.  The park includes a brief history, though I don't recall a fire being mentioned.  I think she said whatever remained of the building burned down in the late '70s.    This is what I learned about Myrtle Creek during my research:

oldest known photo of Myrtle Creek

Settlers first came to the valley in 1837 and by the 1850s' farmlands and homesteads were esablished in the area. The Myrtle Creek area was originally settled in 1851 and the town was established in 1865. The town's name is derived from groves of Myrtle trees found in the vicinity along the banks of North Myrtle, South Myrtle and Myrtle creeks. Oregon Myrtlewood is a broadleaf evergreen native to Southwestern Oregon and Northwestern California and rarely found anywhere else.

Timber was as important to the area during the last century as it remains today.  By the 1870s there were two mills in the Myrtle Creek area.  The planning mill that was attached to the grist mill and a sawmill, up North Myrtle Creek, which could produce about 5,000 board feet per day. 

Milling has been a major part of the City of Myrtle Creek’s economy.  Lazarus Wright constructed a grist mill at the edge of town (adjacent to the creek) that had a capacity of 45 barrels of flour a day.  A planning mill was attached to the grist mill.  An electrical generator was incorporated into this facility prior to 1912.  It was renamed the Myrtle Creek Water, Lighting and Milling Company.  

The grist mill depicted in this mural was built along Myrtle Creek in the early 1850s. It was originally run by a man named Lazarus Wright and was a landmark as it was the only grist mill in the south county area. It was later converted to hydro-electric plant. The grist mill changed ownership a number of times, including John Hall, founder of Myrtle Creek. He bought from Wright (c.1863) and later had town surveyed & platted (ca.1868). Other owners of the mill included Hans Weaver, Henry Adams, F. M. Gabbert and Willis Kramer.

The grist mill was torn down prior to 1930 by the Oregon State Highway Commission to make way for a new bridge across Myrtle Creek as part of the Pacific Hwy improvement project.
The mural was painted in 1997 by local artist Susan Comerford, who still has an art studio in Roseburg, Oregon. The mural is located in Myrtle Creek’s Millsite Park, and is painted on the old sawmill bunker building (aka power house) for the Fir Manufacturing and March Logging Company. The sawmill was built in 1944 to help feed the demands of a nation at war, and supplied the lumber to build the decks of aircraft carriers. Another of the mill’s claims to fame is that it supplied the lumber for building the handrails for Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Eventually the sawmill closed and was abandoned. Then a fire destroyed the wooden mill buildings, almost taking the downtown area of Myrtle Creek with it. After the fire, the city acquired ownership of the land to build a city park under the condition that the land never be used for a profit making business. The bunker building was a very plain building and was almost torn down until the City was approached to have a mural painted on it. The building is now used by the Myrtle Creek Parks Department.

– Mural and historical information provided by Carolyn Shields, Myrtle Creek City Recorder and Maureen Butler, Myrtle Creek Historical Society
Photo by Gary Halvorson, Senior Archivist, Oregon State Archives

I've taken and posted several pictures of Mill Site park in Myrtle Creek. Ed Cadman had taken several pictures that were posted to this site:   

 This giant saw blade, from the old sawmill here, is preserved as part of the park.

Ed Cadman

This is the grindstone and plaque

Karen Rivera      November 2015

Ed Cadman

This plaque tells the story of how the Horse Creek covered bridge arrived in Myrtle Creek.

John Trax / Alamy Stock Photo

  Horse Creek Covered Bridge, spanning Myrtle Creek adjacent to Millsite Park, was built in 1930 and is currently used as a pedestrian bridge. This bridge originally spanned Horse Creek in Lane County but was removed in 1987. The bridge's wooden timbers were given to the City of Cottage Grove for salvage. Cottage Grove used some of the timbers and the remaining lumber was donated to the City of Myrtle Creek in the spring of 1990. 


Ed Cadman

Karen Rivera        November 2015


Myrtle Creek is well known for its old bridges.  The Neal Lane covered bridge across the South Myrtle Creek in one of the six in Douglas County.  In addition to Horse Creek Covered Bridge is the Neal Lane Bridge, which I have also photographed and posted.

From the 1950's: Myrtle Creek itself flooded every year. Ed Cadman had sent a picture depicting the flood  just south of the Dairy Queen where the main highway went into town. You can find more of his pictures here.  This is the only picture I could retrieve from the internet.


I pulled my sources from the following websites:


Historical Sites Downtown Myrtle Creek

Myrtle Creek - Tri City Area Chamber of Commerce

The City of Myrtle Creek

Myrtle Creek Historical Society

Monday, August 22, 2016

Two Paragraphs plus

        For our last assignment in English, we are supposed to write two paragraphs to express "I believe in . . ." fill in the blank. As always, my mind jumped from subject to subject. Though it wasn't my first thought, I did consider ". . . laughter being the best medicine" which changed to " . . . power in literature''  (although that seems it would be tough to do in just two paragraphs) to ". . . saving the libraries in Douglas County" which is the assignment I ended up turning in. Meanwhile my brainstorming has caused other triggers, thus this blog post will include a lot more than just my two paragraphs (plus my writing may not reflect all those same rules)

        I will also refer reader to other posts which I have written - but don't worry.  I will not give all 66 posts in which library is mentioned. They are referenced if you may be interested in reading further or if you've been a follower all along, you may already remember.  So don't click on underlined references unless you are truly interested.  So with no further ado, let me take you on a "Library Journey"

        My earliest recollection of going to the library was Ruth Vine Tyler Library located in Midvale, Utah.  It was in the days before CDs, DVDs and computers.  I think the library offered LP records to be checked out - though I don't believe anyone in my family ever checked out  the LPs.  Granted, my dad had quite a large record collection - possibly even larger than the library.  My brother Patrick and I also had a huge collection of children's records, so probably did not use the audio sources that were provided through the library.

        I do know that in addition to books, prints and pictures were among the items that could be checked out. I don't remember having checked out the pictures personally, though I do recall mom mentioning a neighbor down the street checking out pictures and hanging them on her wall for three weeks at a time.  Among those she had checked out were prints of  "Pinkie" by Thomas Lawrence and "The Blue Boy" by Thomas Gainsborough. I had remembered seeing them available.


        Ruth Vine Tyler is currently one of eighteen libraries in the Salt Lake County Library System.  I haven't taken the time to figure out which ones existed during my childhood.  I remember Whitmore Library having been built in 1977.  I think it was the largest of the county libraries at that time.  Largest I had been to anyway.


        It wasn't until after I was married that I really began to explore several of the other libraries.  At present I have been to only half at one time or another.  Our first house was located in Kearns and we would walk to the library on occasion.  Kearns Library always seemed to offer fun activities; it was definitely the noisiest library I had ever been in.


        Even after we had moved to West Valley, I would often visit the Kearns Library.  I wasn't as impressed with the West Valley branch - at least not in the beginning.  After a while, I came to enjoy going to the library in West Valley, as we could commute there by train.  It was through West Valley Library when Jenna and I were introduced to the mother/daughter reading group mentioned here

        Thus the three libraries I had visited the most often were Ruth Tyler, Kearns and West Valley - though Jenna and I found ourselves frequently visiting the Calvin Smith when Roland was working for an agency in a nearby location.  All of the other libraries I had gone to were mostly just because I happened to be in the area. We really didn't have to travel from library to library.  If, for example, the Herriman library carried a book that I was interested in reading, but not interested in driving all the way to Herriman, I could place an order to pick up the book at the library of my choice.  I thought that such a cool feature 

        I have always been grateful for libraries, but at the same time I may have taken the them for granted. I certainly took the hours for granted.  All libraries were open 60 hours a week.  Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm.  Our move to Oregon changed that.  Oh, the library hours in Salt Lake are the same, but only 20 - 25 hours a week for libraries in Douglas County (see here) I'm happy that Douglas County offers some similar services as Salt Lake as mentioned above or in this post on the library system (Douglas actually works the same way; but far less paid positions than in SLC - many positions in this county are operated through volunteers) 

        The libraries of Douglas County are no in jeopardy of being closed.  We have an opportunity of putting voting to keep the libraries open by accepting an increase in our taxes.  I attended a meeting at the end of May and heard one librarian compare our libraries to being on life support.  On November 8th we have the option of pulling the plug or keeping the doors open. 

        I believe in supporting the library system of Douglas County, which is why I'm voting "yes" on November 8th.  I would encourage all registered voters of Douglas County to do the same thing. It is important to realize the library provides great resources such as borrowing books and DVDs; there are also computers available to use.  Although it is true that not everyone in Douglas County uses or even feels they have a need for the library, let me list some reasons why everyone should vote to keep the libraries open.

        To demonstrate some of the reasons for keeping the libraries open, let me share a few examples. For instance, I know some mothers who like to bring their young children in for story time. As a result, it gives the little ones an opportunity to explore through their minds. Additionally, I know even more people who go to the library to use the computers and Wi-Fi, as they don't have personal access.  Furthermore, I personally like to go for the variety of books.  I think it is great to have the opportunity of borrowing a book and being able to return it for someone else to enjoy.  Again, these are just some of the reasons for keeping our libraries open.  These are some of the reasons why I'll be voting "yes".

        We need to get the word out.  I'm doing everything I can on facebook, but as I only know a handful of people, it's definitely going to take just more than my contribution.  I hope anyone reading this may pass it on to others who live in this county and help us save our libraries.  Thank you.

        For more reading on the history of libraries, see here, here and here