Scappoose Public Library celebrates 90 years
The Scappoose Public Library celebrated 90 years this month.
In recent years, the library has grown its collections, focusing on resources other than printed books.
"We've got a lot of new collections. We've got video games, we've got STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) kits for kids, we've got board games," Scappoose Public Library Director Jeff Weiss said.
The library also has cultural passes, which provide free admission to museums and other destinations, and runs produce and bread distribution on Tuesdays for the local food bank.
While physical books are far from defunct, the library has recognized the variety of needs it can serve.
"People wanted stuff beyond books," Weiss said. "When I came here, there were books and e-books and DVDs, but we expanded out to what most other larger libraries are offering, and we are spending more money on materials and e-books every year."
Weiss has been on the job for just over two years, since moving from Indiana. Soon after his arrival, the library shortened Saturday hours and reevaluated its entire budget, which is currently around $330,000 annually.
With revised hours, eliminated service contracts — like one for building maintenance, which Weiss now does himself — and a new circulation system that saves the library thousands of dollars each year, the library has been able to scrape together funds for those expanded collections.
"It is the community center, especially in a small community like this," Weiss said on a busy afternoon. "It's like this every day now, as far as the level of activity within the library."
Circulation and building usage have both increased 40% since Weiss came on the job. The library circulates 6,000 physical items each month.
"We still have the same level of staff, so it's getting hard," he said.
The library has seven staff members, but with part-time positions, that is equivalent to just over five full-time staffers.
Normally, Weiss said, business slows down after school starts up. But this fall, the library has stayed busy.
Children's events, like Pokémon Fest, Storytime Crafternoon, and weekly story times for babies and toddlers, have kept the library bustling.
Rachel Lunden, one of the librarians, was running an anime club for teens earlier this week.
"We've had a few of them intermittently over the last few years and they've always been a huge hit," Lunden said. "Wendi (Andrews) has been doing most of our kids programing, so I took over that so she had a little bit more time to do things, and I'm a bit nerdier with the anime stuff."
Over the next year, the library will expand its "library of things," which offers items like the STEAM kits for kids.
"That's going to be things like cooking items, instant pots, possibly a tool library," explained Weiss.
The library is supervised by an elected board.
In addition, the nonprofit Friends of the Scappoose Public Library runs book sales that fund summer reading prizes and library improvements like new furniture.
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