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In this file photo from 2015, library patrons use computers at the Roseburg branch of the Douglas County Library System. After voters rejected a library district in November, the county announced that smaller branch libraries will close on April 1 while the Roseburg branch will remain open until the end of May, leaving city officials and library supporters scrambling to keep their libraries open.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN/News-Review file photo/

The possibility of reopening the Roseburg library is one step closer to reality.

The Roseburg City Council on Monday voted to move forward with plans to take ownership of the building and to arrange with a public anchor tenant to share the costs to run the building.

Most likely, that anchor tenant will be the Douglas Education Service District. City Manager Lance Colley said he has been in talks with the district. He estimated the operation of a city library branch would take up just 15,000 square feet out of the 37,000 square feet available in the building. The cost for utilities alone was about $40,000 last year, and the total cost to clean, maintain and operate the building is between $95,000 and $130,000, according to information Colley provided in a report to the council.

He said the district would want to do some remodeling and wouldn’t try to house all its services in the library building.

The Douglas County government began shutting down its countywide system by closing smaller branches April 1, and the Roseburg branch followed suit on May 31. On May 8, with closure looming, the Roseburg City Council directed city staff to come up with a plan to create an independent Roseburg library.

Roseburg City Manager Lance Colley said the goal is to reopen the library without impacting the city’s critical services. He also said the library will need to have paid staff, and that he wants to continue working on a proposal, until he can bring them a plan that works.

“I think we’re going to get one chance at this,” he said.

Colley said he believes the Roseburg library can be reopened by June.

Monday’s vote on taking ownership of the building is preliminary. Colley said once the city and county are agreed on the language of the deed, it would be brought back to the council for another vote.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(2) comments

nr77

Giving ESD or any other manager 60% of the floorspace sounds detrimental to our library, and unreasonable. A third would be generous and possibly acceptable. There should be public input into this. Our library shouldn't sacrificed a second time.

Mogie

"Roseburg City Manager Lance Colley said the goal is to reopen the library without impacting the city's critical services. He also said the library will need to have paid staff," Why does the library need a paid staff? Other cities are functioning fine with volunteers. If it costs approx. $150,000 a year just to pay the utilities and upkeep why not try keeping costs down and spend that money you saved using volunteers to do something stupid like buy new books?

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