Ledding Library moving process will begin in April; the library will be operating out of modular trailers in the TriMet Park and Ride

Bargain hunters get ready: On Feb. 2 and 3, the Friends of the Ledding Library will hold a closeout sale at the Pond House Used Bookstore.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Katie Newell, left, Ledding Library director, and Nancy Wittig, library circulation supervisor, encourage the community to support the upcoming close-out book sale at the Pond House.The sale will include all of the store's holdings of books, DVDs, CDs, fixtures, equipment and even some furniture, said Katie Newell, library director.

"We encourage people to attend the sale to support the Friends. Every single penny comes to us for programs and books," she said. Also "the Friends have promised to donate $100,000 for the [new library] building project, with no strings attached."

Pond House

The Pond House will remain open as an event site and storage area while the new library is being constructed, but the used bookstore will close.

"There will be space for the used bookstore in the new library," said Nancy Wittig, library circulation supervisor.

The support of the Friends group has been invaluable, both women said.

Newell noted that the Friends funds the summer reading program, and all children get a book when they sign up. Because of that involvement, participation has more than doubled.

The Friends also have funded a program where members of the Oregon Symphony perform at the library during four special storytimes.

"The children get to interact with the instruments," Newell said, while Wittig added that over 100 people attended the last storytime featuring a symphony musician.

The Friends will hold its annual plant sale on May 12, the Saturday before Mother's Day, Wittig said, adding that a new coordinator is sought to organize the event. The annual Friends book sale, held at the Waldorf School, will take place in June as scheduled.

All the money from those two events will be given to the library.

New library

Plans for the new library will be introduced to the community at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge on Main Street, in downtown Milwaukie, Newell said.

Two prior meetings were held to get input from the community for the new library's design, Wittig said.

"We visited the Oregon City Library and other libraries in the area to figure out how best to fit into the space we have."

The new library will expand its footprint out toward the amphitheater and south as close to Harrison as is feasible.

"We want to make the library more visible from the street," Newell said.

As the process got underway, some unexpected issues arose.

"We [found that] we needed a family bathroom in the children's area with a small toilet for the children. We want to have a community room, a study room, conference and board meeting rooms and a teen room with a fun seating space, a place for games and a laptop bar," Newell said.

The new library will be on one floor, Wittig said, so "we don't have to worry about stairways and elevators. That gained us 1,000 feet because we are all on one level."


The moving process will begin in April, Wittig said, noting that the library will be operating out of modular trailers in the TriMet Park and Ride, near what was once the Southgate Theater.

"TriMet is giving us the space pro bono," she said.

"We'll be in the 'pod palace," Newell said, noting that the staff will not be working at capacity, but the temporary site will be more of a place where people can pick up books.

"We'll focus on best-sellers, popular and Lucky Day books," she said.

The library will close for a couple of weeks during the move to the trailers, and Newell said she hopes to be in the new facility by May.

She noted that the library will lend out its teen, Russian and Spanish collections for circulation at other libraries. They will return when the new library opens.

"We still don't have a firm date" when the library will reopen, Newell said, but she hopes the construction will be completed by the end of summer 2019.

Meanwhile, some books will be stored in the Pond House, and Newell is hoping to be able "to afford a moving company to store things for us in a safe, dry and climate-controlled" environment.

"When we open those boxes after 18 months, we want the books to be in prime condition."

What are the two women most looking forward to when the new library opens?

"Space," Wittig said.

Newell added: "The people of Milwaukie deserve this. We want them to come in [to the new library] and say 'Wow, this is ours.'"

Book Sale

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday,

Feb. 2-3

Where: Pond House Used Bookstore,

2215 S.E. Harrison St., Milwaukie

Details: The bookstore will close permanently at this site, but will reopen inside the new library in late summer 2019. All funds from the book sale support library projects.

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