Nathan Eckman

Nathan Eckman

My name is Nathan Eckman and I am a teacher who feels blessed to work, live and raise my family in Douglas County. I am writing as a parent, a teacher and as a concerned citizen who is hoping and praying that we come up with a way to save our communities’ libraries.

I worry about literacy rates and the simple joy and pleasure to the access of reading. I worry that we will lose people who will move from our community or be dissuaded from moving here when they realize we have no library. I worry about homeschool students having access to books. I worry about veterans on a fixed income who find great joy and solace in reading a book. I worry about my students who walk to the library after school or on Saturday or during the summer to check out a new book or pick up a hold or say hello to their favorite librarian. I worry about homeless people who are able to steal an hour or two of warmth and humanity each week inside our libraries while reading the newspaper or simply by being warm. I worry about elderly people on a fixed income not being able to afford a new book. I worry about somebody who has just lost their job who is going to the library to use access to the Internet to find a new means to feed their family.

I have been to the library in Drain, located near a beautiful stream. During the summer children often race back and forth along a path that parallels the stream between the community pool and the community library.

Winston’s Library is both a community center and a library and I have been wowed and encouraged by its role and strength in its community.

The library in Sutherlin, as you are probably aware is located near an old train; children during the summer are often found crammed into the community room participating in literacy activities there.

A couple of weeks back the library in Roseburg was packed during one of the coldest days of the year as people raced to check out books.

Now I haven’t had the privilege to visit the libraries in Canyonville, Riddle and Glendale but I can only imagine the impact that they have on their beautiful communities.

I want you to know that I am not blaming any one or any entity for the closing of our libraries and that I do not envy the decision or the stresses that our local leaders have undoubtedly faced.

I am simply suggesting an idea in an attempt to save our incredible system.

I am proposing that we develop a nonprofit organization. A nonprofit whose sole focus and mission is to fund our library system. A nonprofit that seeks money from individuals, corporations, and businesses to fund and preserve our beautiful library system. Are there people in Douglas County who would be willing to give their hard money to save our libraries each and every year? I know the answer is yes as well over 40 percent of our community voted to raise their taxes. I have faith in our community as I am often floored when considering how incredibly generous we are as well as how much the importance we collectively bestow upon our libraries.

Short term, it might actually save money to close our libraries; long term it will be to our economic detriment. Would you consider moving to a community without a library? Would you want to stay in a community without a library? How many people have retooled for new careers while at the library? How many students have found inspiration at a library? A community that values literacy will grow and be vibrant.

While my family would be able to afford to drive to Eugene to visit a library not every family or person would be able to make this trip and that hurts me to no ends.

Are there other solutions or routes that we are not considering? I would be surprised if there were not. How are other communities similar to ours keeping their libraries open. I grew up in the town of Yreka. A small town located just two and half hours down the road. A town that has seen many of its mills shuttered over the years. This town was able to come up with a solution to keep its library open. How is Grants Pass keeping its library system a float? What I am hoping is that the solution to our library crisis maybe is just within our reach.

Nathan Eckman is a resident of Roseburg.

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(8) comments

mysteron

A very good letter Mr Eckman, but you summed it up in a single sentence - 'A community that values literacy will grow and be vibrant'. Sadly Douglas County places no value in either education or literacy. Over the years that has been abundantly clear.

Xlch

I don't understand how Christmas valley,in lake county can maintain a small but serviceable library while being one of the poorest counties in the state. maybe Douglas county can just log one of our surplus parks on an annual basis to fund our library system! with proper rotation and replanting, maybe this would help prop up the system.sorry for the sarcasm

CannaKing

I LOVE the fact how scholars and gentlemen like Mr. Eckman has an ability to think outside the box, to come up with real time solutions! Being the father of 4 wonderful children, I have had many opportunities to see Mr. Eckman at many of the High School Functions and he just seems to be one of the few men in town that just "gets it"! After reading Mr. Eckmans post I too have an idea.... Going off his original idea, what if we re-brand the outside of each of the libraries like they do to major sport stadiums. It is an interesting "out of the box" approach to a problem that everyone agrees, needs to be addressed. That being said, I would like to be the first person to publicly announce a $10,000 donation to the Roseburg library to rebrand the building, under my business' name..... and I would challenge other business' in the other towns, to step up and outbid me, for that right...... for the rights to put their business name on the outside of the library, instead of mine! ;)

Mogie

CannaKing thank you for your offer. You are offering a great solution to this problem. Okay other businesses out there the ball is in your court. Also Google fundraising ideas. There are LOTS of them out there (besides the standard bake sales and car washes). Would there be a problem getting our local schools behind this too? If there was a local cookbook maybe we could get the tourism people involved too. Cookbooks for sale in school libraries, throughout town (would make great gifts while promoting this area also).

PickNGrin

A nonprofit, volunteer-based system will rely heavily on various fundraising strategies to support operations, services, resources, programs, events & projects:
** Individual & family donations, including automatic monthly contributions
** Business sponsorships
** Grants
** Special fundraising events
** Planned giving

At present, Douglas County Library System counts on over 100 volunteers for about 12,000 hours per year. Here's a page with info on how to volunteer in a library. For more info EMAIL rsbgvol@co.douglas.or.us or call 541-440-4314 or talk to your local librarian. http://www.dclibrary.us/support-our-libraries/volunteering.html

As far as donations to the library, they can be dropped off at your local branch or mailed to:
Douglas County Library System
1409 NE Diamond Lake Blvd.
Roseburg, OR 97470

Mogie

I have never heard of anyone NOT moving to a new place because they didn't have a library. I think there are other things that a more important then a library. Good schools, safe neighborhoods, a decent paying job, food on the table, clean clothes to wear, a place to call home. Those are some things people take into consideration before moving. I really doubt someone decides not to move because a community doesn't have a public library. If you believe we need one so badly fund it yourself. The people have spoken and we said NO! No more new taxes live with what you have. That is what I have to do.

jessienewton

I would not consider moving to a town without a library for all the reasons that Mr. Eckman stated as well as some less direct ones. Voting to close libraries is a reflection of what the community values. If the majority of folks in a community's don't a value the services that the library provide some then I question what they do value.

Mogie

Oh maybe we value things like eating, staying warm, a roof over our heads, being able to pay our bills, etc. Again if a library is sooooooooo important to you fund it yourself. Ask the older folks at the Senior Center for tips on raising money. They are buying their own building.

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