Library board plans building renovation and expansion
The Jefferson County Library has a long history of growing and adapting to the needs of our community. That tradition continued after the library became a district in 2002.
In the last few years, the library has started re-imagining itself to become a community information hub. We've been stretched on space for quite a while, and now the time has come to expand. We want to provide the community with meeting rooms of varying sizes, create a dedicated workspace for job seekers or career changers, bring our genealogy resources back to the library, and create study areas. Our outreach efforts have expanded and changed in unique ways, and we are converting old spaces for new purposes. As creative as the Library Team is, there is only so much space available.
Since the early days of the district, the board has been planning for future expansion.
"We are not the sleepy spot on the highway that we once were," stated board member Susan Stovall. "We want our library to meet the needs of our community. For that reason, we slowly increased our land ownership around the library so that when the time came to look at expansion seriously, we would have the land to do so."
A recent inspection of our Rodriguez Annex found that the roofs (surprise! it has two) required severe repairs. When the board figured the cost of replacing the roof and bringing the building up to current building standards, it decided to remove the Annex and prepare for library expansion on the lot. We are sad to see the Annex come down; we also acknowledge that it will mark the beginning of a new era for the Jefferson County Library District.
"The library board has been saving funds for years in anticipation of building a new library; we have recently determined that renovating and expanding the current library would be the most effective use of funds," explained Gabriella Bebee, the library's project facilitator. "The community has come to appreciate the current location of the library. The board felt that expanding onsite will allow the library to continue being the community hub that the staff and board envisions."
Stephen Hillis, a JCLD board member, agrees. "We continue to explore new ways to be better able to assist our community. Look for us to begin outreach programs to share our ideas and plans and seek input from the community."
So, what does that mean for us this summer? JCLD will continue with its regularly scheduled summer programs while transitioning out of the Annex into one of our other locations. It may get a little crowded, but we will continue to do our best to serve our customers and keeping our programs on track.
Summer Reading Program
And speaking of programs – it's June, which means one thing at the Jefferson County Library. The JCLD Summer Reading Program (SRP)! This year's summer reading program theme is Tails and Tales. You might guess this year, the focus is on animals. You'd be right! Our mascot, Ollie the Otter, will be front and center in all the programming. He'll be introducing a new friend every week. Each of his friends is a local animal from this area. We're excited about the whole gang getting together by the end of the year and introduced to the Jefferson County community.
Due to all the changes throughout the last year, the 2021 JCLD Children's Summer Reading Program events are outdoor. Each week from June 21 to July 19, we will gather in different parks located throughout Jefferson County. Please check our website (jcld.org) and the Madras Chamber website (www.madraschamber.com/) to keep up with all of our event days, times and places.
So, what is the JCLD Summer Reading Program? Laura Jones explains, "Each year, the library puts its reading programs into top gear to promote the love of books and get more children reading. Have you heard of the summer slide? After school is out, students begin to lose what they learned that year. The Summer Reading Program helps stop the slide by engaging kids with reading, STEAM, and other education fun programming. We provide lots of programs in the park, games, crafts, and handing out free books."
Youth Services Specialist Star Todd added, "We'll also have events for teens. This year, we have three events, one for each month, to get young people out and about. We'll play some Quiplash, partner with the MACRD for a swim activity, and do some graffiti art. Teens also have volunteer opportunities with the children's programs."
Adriana Arizmendi, Spanish services, said, "It is important to get the whole community involved. Our Summer Reading Program is bilingual. You can find many bilingual books in the library, and we want to promote that collection this summer. Come and see us and find out what we have to offer."
Jones concluded, "We challenge the kids with fun educational tasks, and they can earn rewards for their efforts."
Don't forget our Summer Reading Program for adults, too! According to Community Service Specialist Gretchen Schlie, "This year, we have about seven ballot boxes. Readers deposit their book receipts for a chance to win prizes and show us how much they are reading. This year, we are partnering with local businesses. Each business will create several gift baskets for the drawings. That means more winners!"
It is never a dull moment at the JCLD. We encourage you all to come visit us, grow with us, use a computer, tour our databases, browse a magazine, and of course — pick up a book and read.
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