When the lights go out and the doors close at the Roseburg library today, those actions will feel uncomfortably metaphoric. The light of knowledge being snuffed. The doors granting every county resident access to that knowledge shut and barred.

No wonder library supporters felt a vigil was in order this evening during the library’s last hour. Let’s all pray this closure is only temporary.

The loss of the county’s biggest library should shock us all. Story times and summer reading programs have made our kids smarter. So has the ability to go to the library once a week, or once every few weeks, and leave with a stack of books. Books offer windows to other worlds. They feed our minds with facts and our imaginations with stories. Libraries teach us stuff. They even teach us how to learn.

The modern library includes even more than the traditional books. Books can be checked out to read on computer tablets. Computers hooked up to the Internet allow people to search the web for information, and even to apply for jobs.

Libraries, like good schools, are part of the package that newcomers like doctors and business owners look for when they consider whether to relocate in a place like this one.

The death of a community’s library indicates a place in decline, one that doesn’t value education, one where poverty and all its ills — from ignorance to poor health to dependence on government welfare programs — are on the rise.

All our hopes for the Roseburg library now lie with two government bodies: The Roseburg City Council and the Douglas County Library Futures Task Force. We must now hope they do their jobs well, and find a way to restore at least a bare bones countywide system and some semblance of a Roseburg city library.

Knowledge is power. Let’s make sure we, and our kids, have access to that power. Let’s commit to doing everything in our power to reopen the doors, turn the lights back on, and read.

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(19) comments

Mogie

Okay here is a positive suggestion. http://www.swaptrees.com/swap_books.php (that site is all about swapping books). Clean out your bookcase and trade or donate what you aren't reading or have already read and won't use or read again. I put together a collection of books from one of these sites. It took a few year but it did happen.

Mogie

Correction that should be www.swaptrees.com/swap_books.php

Mogie

A comment was posted by Rise722:

The library is obsolete. And the one that was built in Roseburg was way too expensive for what we got ... money spent on "air space" would have been better utilized on books, computers, personnel, etc. But the edifice that went up, was strictly for show.

What do you mean by air space? Air time as in tv commercials? I take things literally so this is confusing.

Sharon

I agree with the size of the library being too big. It seems like after it was built a couple years later employees were being let go. I think there were "stars" in the eyes of the builder and not a lot abouto future operation of staff.

Rise722

The library is obsolete. And the one that was built in Roseburg was way too expensive for what we got ... money spent on "air space" would have been better utilized on books, computers, personnel, etc. But the edifice that went up, was strictly for show.

GetItRight

The 'Dumbing' of Douglas County.
Mogie, tell me how much is allocated in the Douglas County '17 budget for the Museum.. Do you use it weekly?
Given the rural nature and proximity of state and federal parks and recreational lands how much is budgeted for Douglas County Parks? Exactly what is the profit and loss of that division within the budget?
We never use the county parks or museum but pay for them via taxes. Until this year we didn't have internet and my wife who's health keeps her mostly indoors would make one stop weekly, the library. Not everyone is able to utilize the internet for reading whilst confined. Try holding a tablet or LED screen for hours while reading... How about EVERY division within the county budget being user funded. IMHO your advocating user funding of every non-vital service, heck we paid the fire department for responding to a small fire we had, everyone should if they use the service given your opinion.

Mogie

Excellent suggestion GetitRigh both the museum and parks both charge fees (museum costs to enter and parks have parking fees. so your suggestion is to charge a fee to library users for either parking or an enterance fee. Great idea to raise money. I don't have a desk so I do hold my chrome book. You don't have to hold a tablet if you use your sunglasses (they can actually hold your tablet for you). I pay the fire department via my taxes to respond to emergencies the use of a library is NOT an emergency. Police, ambulance services, hospitals, etc. are examples of life saving services that are provided (paid for by tax payers). The library is NOT essential to life. It is a luxuary. You pay extra when you want a luxuary. Hence my example of if you want cable tv you pay for it. Still you idea about charging for entering or parking is original.

LibraryImp

Property taxes are only contributed to one department in the county's budget. The rest has been funded by the general fund that is now dwindling.

http://www.co.douglas.or.us/finance/documents/2018/FY18_Proposed_budget.pdf

Mogie

The link you provided is for the proposed budget. Is the current budget the same? Pretty sure they dip into property taxes to fund a lot of stuff (like police, fire, etc.) Money from the general fund does come from property taxes so property taxes are funding A LOT.

LibraryImp

http://www.co.douglas.or.us/2016_Budget_Charts/index.html

Click through to the slide 8, this is where all the property taxes go: one department.

Mogie

Okay I see what you are talking about. So property taxes are used basically for law enforcement and other stuff is funded by other types of taxes (like gas). Do I have that correct? So I am guessing that the question should be where is all of that tax money from hidden taxes going? So if property taxes are just for law enforcement why would the library have increased my property taxes?

GetItRight

Please, I retired at 53 from IT, I know technology. I seriously doubt you have ever looked at a P&L, let alone the DC Budget. Just exactly how much does the Museum generate in Revenue versus Cost? Income $196K, OPEX, $462K, General Fund Requirements, $270K (aka OPEX LOSS). Try another line item for the Parks? We live on 200 acres, I don't need a park. To simplify, the number required from General Fund $640K (OPEX LOSS) .. How about transportation? We don't need it or use it as it doesn't come by our home. If it weren't for State and Federal contributions it would lose $1M +/- ?
Not everyone has internet, until DFN arrived this year we paid $200 per month for wireless Verizon.. how many people who use the library can afford that monthly expense to access your 'books' on line.
BTW, my wife was a Pathologist and as I stated earlier, I retired from Medical Informatics, we know what she can and can't do with the autoimmune issues she has and more than understand essential services.

That's not the discussion here, your distracted from the issue.

Possibly and probably the issue generally is POOR COUNTY MANAGEMENT with only being a Cost Center.

And in closing, we'd gladly pay for use, parking, annual subscription, etc., not only for ourselves but to those who understand the importance of a knowledge center and to help those who can't afford alternative forms of information acquisition.

Mogie

Okay who are you talking too? What is P&L? I don't have a clue how much revenue the museum makes. I just commented on the fact that a previous writer had suggested that as a way to generate income. It does raise income the exact amount is not in question. Then there are some numbers listed and I have no idea what you or those are referring to. I am glad you live on 200 acres that is more then most of us have. Everyone needs some form of transportation. You go to the store don't you? We decided that we would rather have the internet then tv. And for those closer to town internet costs MUCH less. Right now you can get FAST speed internet from Charter for $65.99 a month. If you wife was a pathologist you can afford A LOT. Give me a break we are living on less then $500 a month. I offered a suggestion (the book swap club). Did you offer any? NO! Try doing more then just griping. Anyone can cry and complain but not many people try to give at least one idea or suggestion. So you do what you want with your money but until you live on $500 a month you don't have a clue. You are wealthy and not watching every dime. So for someone living over a $1000 a month UNDER the poverty level a increase of $6 a month is a lot. And yes all of my bills are current and we have no outstanding debt. But to say you will only help those that agree with you is sad. That is what the last paragraph of your comment stated.

Mogie

"my wife who's health keeps her mostly indoors would make one stop weekly, the library". You didn't make trips to the grocery store? We go for at least milk on an average of 4 times a week.

Rose77

A town without a professionally staffed library is not worth living in.

Mogie

A town without a doctor, hosiptal, basic human services (like electric, water, etc.) are not worth living in. Why does a library have to be professionally staffed? What does the professional staff do that makes a building worth living in? People please don't imply you are going to kill yourself if you don't have a library. If that is how you make life and death decisions you might not be based in reality.

LibraryImp

They meant the library closing makes the town not worth being in. They said nothing about not wanting to live. Moving to a new place (or not wanting to live somewhere in particular) and your interpretation are two different paths of comprehension.

Mogie

Oh, I thought they were being dramatic. Having dealt with suicide before I was caught off guard by that phrasing. When you hear certain things it sets off alarm bells. Thanks for explaining what the writer meant.

Mogie

"Knowledge is power. Let’s make sure we, and our kids, have access to that power. Let’s commit to doing everything in our power to reopen the doors, turn the lights back on, and read." Think you are being a little dramatic??? If knowledge is power for kids let them use their school library. This county has been in decline for years. Taxes keep rising and my income stays the same. So yes my ability to pay my bills and put food on my table is more important then having ANOTHER library paid for by tax payers. If that building is so important to you then you pay for it. But don't take food from my family's mouth to fund what isn't a physical necessity. I am tired of people taking more of my money via taxes. Live with what you have that is what I have to do. If you want an extra perk then you pay for it. If I want cable tv I pay for it. If I want to run my air conditioner I pay for that also. I paid my share of taxes during my life. Quit asking me for more. The answer is sometimes NO.

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