Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Book lovers bring back rural Oregon county's public libraries

Volunteers at Riddle Public Library (Oregonian/Beth Nakamura)
It looked like curtains for the public libraries in Douglas County, Oregon, after residents voted down a tax initiative to save them last year. The branches closed one by one in the struggling rural area, hurt by the but then, a bit of a miracle happened: "Since then, one by one, library lovers from here to Reedsport have fought, wrangled and inspired to launch a grass-roots effort to help re-open the doors," Shane Dixon Kavanaugh reports for The Oregonian. "Small but growing armies of volunteers have worked to rebuild collection catalogs, staff reference desks and run summer reading programs for kids."

Douglas County (Wikipedia map)
With private efforts, aided by donations, fundraisers, and local tax levies, nine of the 11 closed libraries are back up and running. "The turnaround marks a rare bright spot for a struggling county forced in recent decades to gut services amid declines in logging on public lands. Federal timber revenues, once as high as $50 million a year, plummeted to just several million dollars annually," Kavanaugh reports.

Read here for more on how these rural Oregonians got their libraries back.

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