Bob Bell

Almost two years ago, the county announced that it would no longer fund its library system. In response, volunteers reopened all ten of the previous Douglas Community Library Association branch libraries.

In November, thanks to volunteers and interested citizens, Drain and Reedsport passed library tax districts. But what about the eight others? How are they managing with few resources and a volunteer staff? A big help for some of these libraries has been the DCLA.

The association is comprised of six of the reopened libraries. The associated libraries are all non-profit 501©(3) entities with locally appointed boards. These six, Canyonville, Glendale, Myrtle Creek, Oakland, Riddle and Winston, have chosen to cooperate to enhance library services for all of Douglas County. Each library selects a DCLA board member, and in turn these library representatives select “at-large” members to represent the areas of the county not served by a library or a library district.

It is the goal of the DCLA board to encourage local libraries not to charge a fee for out-of-district library cards. The DCLA’s board has received support from grants from Douglas County and from the Douglas County Library Foundation to fund annual access to Apollo, an integrated library system. This virtual catalog is a vital tool for the six libraries to manage their individual collections. Thanks to the Apollo ILS catalog, the DCLA associated libraries, plus Sutherlin and Yoncalla, now use a courier system — generously supplied by the Douglas Education Service District — to share books and other materials. See an example of the Apollo ILS at

The Board has also started an online library of digital books: DCLALibrary2Go. Thanks to a generous grant from the Douglas County Library Foundation, this library of e-books and audiobooks was recently available for free to all county residents for one year. Now, any Douglas County resident can register for the service and choose from 230 e-books or audio books for a small annual fee of $25. This fee is only used to purchase additional online materials.

The DCLA plans to add at least ten additional items per month, and user recommendations are prioritized when purchasing new items. All Douglas County residents can register for the service regardless of where they live. Please take a look at the collection by going to And join and help us build this new library.

The associated libraries also use the monthly DCLA board meetings as opportunities to network and promote other activities. Recently, the DCLA featured a presentation by Altrusa. This led to all the libraries joining into a Celebration of Literacy, where free books and superhero activities were featured.

Late last year, the DCLA board representative from the Riddle library initiated a grant request to the Cow Creek Tribe and the Ford Family Foundation to fund Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Five of the six DCLA libraries participated and the grant request was funded.

Beginning in April, there will be a free book in the mail each month for children five and younger that are eligible for the program, but you must apply at your local library or online at

When the County Commissioners closed the library system, there was considerable confusion on the part of patrons; they were unsure if there would be any library services in Douglas County. Credit goes to a small group of dedicated volunteers, who over the past year and a half have reopened their local libraries, gained back patrons, cataloged newly purchased and donated materials and kept regular open hours.

Below are the six DCLA libraries plus the Sutherlin current totals.

Number of Cardholders: 3,927

Total number of materials in the total shared collection: 103,121

Total materials presently in circulation: 2,835

New or donated books added to the total 7 collections since re-opening: 12,759

Library cards are free at all seven libraries.

Bob Bell is the current President of the Douglas County Community Library Board, the President of the Friends of the Winston Library Board and a former member of the Douglas County Library Foundation Board. He believes that a free local library is a vital service for all Douglas County residents, but especially for our seniors and children.

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"Library cards are free at all seven libraries." Does that include the main branch in Roseburg? Last thing I saw in the paper was a $60 annual fee for people who lived outside of the city. Is that still current?

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