National Library Week was April 9 to 15, and longtime King City Civic Association library volunteer Judy Holmes had a bright idea: Why not host an open house to let KCCA residents learn what a gem they have in their library in the Arts and Crafts Building?
"In the last two months we got new carpet, we rearranged the shelves at angles, washed the windows and put up new signage," Holmes said. "We decided to do some kind of open house in April, and I saw that National Library Week on the calendar."
Holmes, who has volunteered in the library for two years, designed a brochure about the library and its services, and made nametags for all the volunteers to wear during the open house.
Since a lot of people were expected for the open house, which was held April 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Holmes had Valerie Schuyler on hand to sell commemorative mugs as a fundraiser for the new Aquatic Center project; the mugs also will be sold at other events.
In the library, Millie Dettra, a four-year volunteer, and Carol Heisler, a volunteer for 12 years, were on duty in the morning hours ready to offer tours and answer questions.
The collection includes all the areas one would expect to find in any big-city library: fiction, mystery, biography, western, romance and non-fiction. And there is a huge DVD section that was started four years ago.
"We have 'trade' paperbacks, which are bigger and printed on better paper, as well as regular paperbacks," Heisler said.
Scattered around the library are seating areas with tables and comfy, high-backed leather chairs.
The library is set up to be self-service (and is open 24/7 for those with a key to the building), and residents wanting to check out books simply take the card out of the book, write their name and phone number on it, and put the card in a basket.
Volunteers stamp the date on the cards each day and keep a container of rubber bands on the counter, asking borrowers to put rubber bands around each book they are dropping into a slot to return to prevent them from getting damaged.
The library has nearly 20 volunteers led by Sandra Curtis who work shifts Monday through Friday between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Volunteers also drop in on Saturdays and Sundays.
"The volunteers are just a nice, friendly bunch of people," Dettra said.
Stopping in that morning was Maryann Plath with her dog Lacey. "I love the library," Plath said. "I come every week."
According to Heisler, people can keep hardbacks and audios for 30 days. "If they don't return them, we just give them a call – we don't fine them," she said.
No checkout is necessary for paperbacks, but they are supposed to be returned within 30 days, and DVDs are supposed to be returned within seven days.
The library operates on a small annual budget allocated by the KCCA Board of Directors. Hardback fiction and mysteries are purchased in regular and large print, but nonfiction, paperbacks, DVDs, magazines and puzzles are all donated.
The volunteers manage and process more than 5,000 volumes each year plus provide assistance to patrons.
The library, which is not affiliated with the Washington County Cooperative Library System, donates purged paperbacks to the Veterans Administration Hospital & Medical Center in Portland, and all other items are donated to Union Gospel Mission.