ROSEBURG — With nearly 90,000 interesting books, magazines, newspapers and other items available at the library here, probably the last thing the typical visitor would want to browse through is something called the 2021-2025 Roseburg Public Library Strategic Plan.
But that mundane-sounding document is not only critical to the future of the library, but actually contains some interesting tidbits, Katie Fischer, an AmeriCorps participant who helped create the strategic plan, told the Roseburg City Council on Monday.
“It communicates our goals and values,” Fischer said. “It’s a really vital tool for transparency and communication, and shows exactly what we stand for.”
And what does the library stand for?
“Promote community, inspire curiosity, encourage learning,” according to its mission statement.
The strategic plan also outlines goals for the library to strive for, such as “create opportunities for lifelong learning” and “enhance community outreach and awareness.”
Both goals have been achieved in creative and inspiring ways.
The library runs a gamut of activities and programs for word lovers of all ages. That includes Harry Potter Day for younger readers and a homebound program in which the library delivers books to nursing homes and other elder care facilities.
The popularity of those programs has been matched by the enthusiasm shown for another service that was created during a time when the library was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The drive-up pickup service takes place Thursday afternoons, when more than 100 vehicles typically show up, checking out more than 500 items each week.
There are also eye-catching renovations taking place at the library, including new furniture, a nearly 200-square-foot mural in front of the Deer Creek Room and myriad improvements to the Ford Room, including new carpeting, LED lights, ceiling-mounted projector, screen and sound system.
The improvements represent a dramatic turnaround for a library that was shuttered just a few years ago due to a lack of funding.
The library closed in the spring of 2017 after voters rejected a proposed countywide library district and tax in November 2016. Ten other libraries in Douglas County also closed.
Thanks to local support, including from the City of Roseburg, the library was able to reopen in the fall of 2018.
“It’s fantastic when you think about where we were with our library five years ago, and now we have a strategic plan,” Roseburg City Councilor Brian Prawitz said Monday. “There’s just a thousand dominoes that happened between then and now.”
Fischer said library director Kris Wiley and the rest of the staff are brimming with ideas and enthusiasm to continue the momentum.
“We sit down and ask, ‘What do we want to try and put our energy towards in the future?’” Fischer said.
And the answer to that question is based on the will and wishes of the library patrons and supporters, she said. Fischer also said much of what is contained in the strategic plan, and indeed much of what drives her and others at the library as they seek to carry out their mission, is contained in the simple question they continue to ask: “What do you want to see from your library?”