Spring Update from Pat Duke, Library Director

Written by Hilly Alexander on .

We’ve had a good year.

Deborah Gitlitz, our Outreach Librarian, has been making contact throughout the City to parent groups, apartment houses, and anywhere else folks gather to take early literacy messages to families. She has been visiting a Head Start program at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. She’s been meeting with Hispanic parents at Boeckman Creek Primary. And she’s been an important Spanish language resource for the library, including building our Spanish language collections.

This year we are going to do more. With the Foundation’s support, Deborah is going to begin regular visits to local daycares, some of these are run by families and friends and providers have little formal knowledge of early literacy. She can make connections, give advice and model effective techniques to help kids on their reading path.

For adults, we are adding programs like Curiosity Café, which allows individuals to share experiences and gifts with the community. We started with a talk about the Library’s own Terri Wortman’s bike ride across the USA. And last week we had cowboy poet, Tom Swearingin, read his poetry and talk about his life. We plan to do these monthly, each with a different topic.

And of course there is Science Adventure. I spent Saturday morning in the streets of Portland, with about 10,000 others, to make a statement about the importance of science in peoples’ lives, and the importance of kids pursuing it as a thoughtful career. Science Adventure provides out of school opportunities for kids in this community to explore science and to think critically. Last year over 400 local children completed ten science activities over the summer, hundreds more attended preschool stories and science, where scientific principals are introduced to preschoolers… at their level. And hundreds more attended classes taught by OMSI.

All of these activities are supported by the Library Foundation. Indeed, Science Adventure simply would not exist without the Foundation.

We are going to have a great year. So let me tell you about a couple of other things we are doing that will hopefully make the library easier to use and more attractive. These are not necessarily funded by the Foundation, but are important.

As I speak, Library staff are applying RFID tags to materials in the Library. These tags will make checkout easier, and will create other efficiencies for the library. You should see changes this fall.

Also this fall, we will be renovating the central areas of the library building. We are replacing our carpet, downsizing our service desks, working to improve the Young Adult area, and improving seating.

By this time next year, the Library will have a new look. This is being paid for with capital money that was made available to us by the County as part of the creation of the Library district in 2009.

So we are really looking forward to an exciting year. We are expanding programs and we are making great changes to the Library building.

In January, the Library Foundation took over the administration of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Wilsonville from the Wilsonville Kiwanis. Kiwanis did an amazing job creating and supporting the Wilsonville Imagination Library. In the five years that Kiwanis ran the program, over 1,200 Wilsonville kids have been touched by the monthly books. Over 30,000 books were mailed. The Foundation took over a robust and thriving program, and it is now the Foundation’s task to take it to the next level. Hint: It’s easy to support this program - $100 buys books for 4 children under 5 for an entire year.