Library a hub of activity in Sherwood
If you're old enough to remember, a trip to the library meant mastering the card catalogue and the Dewey Decimal System. Modern libraries cater to the digital age. You can use a computer to find a book or sit down at a library-provided computer, surf the Web or check your email.
These amenities and more are provided at the sparkling Sherwood Public Library on Pine Street, steps away from Historic Old Town shops and businesses.
Library Manager Adrienne Doman Calkins oversees the library and keeps busy catering to the needs of her bibliophile patrons.
The Sherwood Public Library became a department of the city of Sherwood in 1958. In 1976, the library became a founding member of Washington County Cooperative Library Services.
"What that did was bring the different municipal city libraries in the county together so that the residents of rural Washington County had library access," Doman Calkins said. "Funding came in from the county to support those efforts to make sure it was all working."
Currently, the majority of Sherwood Public Library operating funds come through WCCLS.
"When you look at our budget, which is about $1.3 million a year, almost $1 million of our operating budget is coming from WCCLS," Doman Calkins said. "The rest of that comes through the city of Sherwood. One way or another, it's local property taxes."
Doman Calkins said she thinks of the library as the community's living room.
"We see that every day as people are coming in and using the space in social ways," she said. "They're using the library as a place to discover. It's open to everyone."
The Sherwood Public Library is not simply about checking out books. Activities are aplenty at the facility.
"We have events going on," Doman Calkins said, citing a 3-D printing class and a new citizenship class. "We have crafting classes and writing workshops — some of our programs are multi-generational, so we'll have young adults and grandparents coming together to learn a new skill."
About 700 people a day, on average, visit the Sherwood Library. Doman Calkins notes that mornings are less busy. There's plenty of time to explore books, audio books or movies.
"After school time, it turns into more of a hub for young people," Doman Calkins said. "Around 5 o'clock, it turns, again, into a quieter place."
Currently, the library has 21 employees, but volunteers are an integral part of the library.
"Our volunteers make it possible for us to focus on some of our other library services," Doman Calkins said. "Volunteers help handle the books that come in. We have about 40 regular volunteers every month who do a weekly shift."
One hundred twenty-four volunteers helped last year, according to Doman Calkins, noting volunteers can include teenagers and seniors.
"We have quite a few retirees who work behind the scenes," she said, adding volunteers are coordinated through the city.
Libraries have evolved over the last few years.
"It used to be when you had to go to the card catalogue, you had to know exactly what you were looking for," Doman Calkins said. "Now you can browse online with key words into a library computer from any Internet-enabled device, whether that's in the library, from your phone, or from a home computer. You can even search for a book from home by going to wccls.org."
It's mind-boggling to consider how many books you can check out at the Sherwood Public Library.
"Library card holders have access to 1.7 million items county-wide and can place holds to have materials sent to Sherwood for pickup," Doman Calkins said. Currently, there are about 53,000 items in the local Sherwood collection, which include books, movies, audio books, magazines, music and games.
"At any given time, approximately 72 percent of that collection is in and on the shelves," she said. "You should be able to find the materials that you love. We try and help with that to make it as easy as possible."
The recent library fiscal report, which ended June 30, showed some positive statistics. For instance, there was a 13.6 percent increase in new library cards added.
Visits are also up. Doman Calkins said the library had 251,000 visits last year, up 3%.
Doman Calkins feels "tremendous pride" for all the work that is done at the Sherwood Public Library.
"We're serving the public," she said. "We're doing something for our community, to give back and to make Sherwood a better place."
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)