Community members are talking about the Douglas County Library System and the Douglas County Library Foundation’s education campaign. They are discussing the impact of the loss of timber dollars on local services, as well as the fact that Libraries Matter.
Read, watch and listen to what The News-Review, local librarians and your neighbors are saying about our libraries and our community.
The Douglas County Library Foundation was founded in 1981 with an endowment of two million dollars. The purpose of that endowment was to be used to earn sufficient annual funds to provide books and materials to the Douglas County Library System. For more than three and a half decades the DCLF has done exactly that. Nearly every book you check out from your local library was purchased with those earnings supplemented by annual donations from interested members of the community. In addition, Summer reading programs and materials have also been provided using DCLF funding.
The DCLF has done this without maintaining any ownership in the process. The books have belonged to the Douglas County Library System. Since the Douglas County Library System no longer exists, the books have been bequeathed to the library in which they currently reside.
In the meantime, however, the Foundation has altered its by-laws to support libraries in the county in whatever way is deemed necessary. The DCLF has given monies to the branches in support of the Summer reading programs and has donated to the cause of re-establishing some semblance of a county-wide system.
The eleven libraries that have been re-opened using volunteers are now operating as completely independent entities.
The Douglas Community Library Association (DCLA) has been formed. It consists of representatives from each of the libraries or the cities involved. It is not currently interested in pursuing tax initiatives, although two cities (Reedsport and Drain) have created local initiatives in support of their libraries. Both of these tax measures have been passed. The books are now owned by the library or entity holding (in some cases this is a city government) per agreements made with the county government. DCLA will provide a county-wide digital cataloging system for all of the branches. However, the computer cataloging system will cost about $30,000 per year.
Incidentally, literally no one in either the DCLF or the DCLA receives any salary or other remuneration. We are all volunteers and we always have been. Each member of the DCLF serves a three-year term and can serve for a maximum of six years. Every year a search is made to replace retiring members of the board. We welcome volunteers to the task.
The membership of the DCLA consists of one representative from each of the library branches or the cities (wherein the city owns the library) and one representative from the county at large and one representative from the DCLF, so it is false to claim that the DCLA misrepresents the libraries in question or that it hides anything from public view. Meetings are held in the Winston Community Center at 1:15pm on the second Tuesday of every month and the public is welcome to sit in.
One of the first tasks of the DCLA was to re-establish some sort of county-wide relationship among the various library branches. This have undertaken to initiate this process by establishing a computer-based catalog system that will encompass all of the books in the county. Some branches have already paid for this service locally, but the provider of the system has declared that those libraries will be reimbursed for the costs they have already paid once the county-wide system is up and operating. There are still issues regarding who will pay for the annual maintenance cost of this system or who will pay the computer programmer/operator who will maintain the system. The City of Roseburg now owns their library they have re-opened officially on January 10, 2109. The role of the Roseburg library as regards the county-wide system has not yet been determined, but the Roseburg librarian has been attending DCLA meetings and observes the decisions made. She is bound by her employment by the City of Roseburg and will do whatever the city agrees to do
In other words, the entire county-wide library system remains in a state of flux, but there are signs of coming together. For instance, the Educational Services Division will be sharing the library building with the Roseburg city library, and they are providing transportation of books between libraries, making our county-wide system more than just a dream.
In addition, the DCLA is now providing an electronic book library. To register, go to https://dcalibraries.com/L2G.html
In short, there is far more to having a library than simply opening the doors using volunteers. Naysayers notwithstanding, the process continues step by step, and it will be done with or without a tax base.