Volunteer Tom House checks in returned books last year at the C. Giles Hunt Memorial Library in Sutherlin.

The Sutherlin Library is holding a “Spring Fiesta” on Saturday to celebrate two years of being open after the Douglas County Library System shut down in April 2017.

From 3:30-5:30 p.m., people can enjoy refreshments, raffle baskets and music while learning about the library’s current and upcoming programs.

The library is starting to provide services that it never did when it was part of the county system, according to Rick Troxel, chairman of the Sutherlin Library Advisory Board.

Since it opened as a city library, the library has seen 20,000 visits, issued 1,200 library cards and added 4,000 books and other materials.

“We’re also excited to be actively working together with other libraries,” Troxel said.

While the Sutherlin Library is not an official partner of the Douglas County Library Association, Troxel said he is thankful Douglas Education Service District helped create a connection between the library and the association. The partnership allows the library to exchange more than 100,000 library materials with six other association libraries: those in Canyonville, Glendale, Myrtle Creek, Oakland, Riddle and Winston.

Troxel said the library is launching two new programs that will help bolster access to books by taking them into the community.

One of them is the Bookshare for Those in Care program which will create a curated catalog of books that will be delivered to child and adult care facilities in the area.

Library Director Pat Lynch said the library will begin the program in July by bringing age-appropriate books to a trial group of facilities.

“The program will expand in the early fall to senior residences and facilities, providing new and newer materials, large print books, and responding to specific requests as funding makes possible,” Lynch said.

The books, which will be separate from the library’s in-house collection, will remain in a facility for the normal three-week checkout period, and then they will be rotated out for a new selection.

“We’re going to replenish the books and replace them, so we can reach out to the community and bring the library to them,” Troxel said.

Additionally, the library will soon participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, which will deliver a new book every month to enrolled children in Sutherlin and Oakland ages 0 to 5.

“That way they can start to build their own libraries and create more interest in the public library,” Troxel said.

Lynch said the role of public libraries has expanded in the last decade, especially in small towns such as Sutherlin. Libraries are community gathering places now, he said, and they increasingly exist to provide resources to which community members lack access.

“It’s hard for some of us to believe, but there are still people we see every day that don’t have a computer and don’t have internet access,” Lynch said. “Some of them can’t afford it even if they could get it. So that’s a service we’re trying to provide and enhance, recognizing the needs of the community.”

This weekend, Lynch will introduce the community to the library’s Hunt Research Center, which will fully open this summer. The center will feature a research room with two new computers, print facilities and many free internet and onsite databases.

Troxel said the hard work of Lynch, the library’s board, Sutherlin Friends of the Library and other local groups has created these programs, which are funded by grants through the C. Giles Hunt Charitable Trust, the State Library of Oregon and the Ford Family Foundation.

Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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