It started as a children’s reading library in the old city hall.  The Reading Connection moved into the Keizer Heritage Center when it opened in the late 1990s.  Now the Keizer Community Library is enjoying its life in its expanded space at the Center.

Director Art Burr along with the members of the Library’s board and many volunteers have beat the drum for years about needing more space so they provide more services. They got their wish and the expanded library is a wonderful asset for Keizer.

A report from the Keizer Heritage Center Task Force called for an enlarged library and more space for the Keizer Heritage Museum. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce moved to its new Keizer Station location earlier this year. The Museum moved into that space, allowing the Library to fulfill its dream.

By doubling its space the Library is now able to offer more services and products. For years patrons could barely turn around in the library; every inch of the space was crammed with books. Now, those using the library find the space airy and well organized. Additional bookshelves, chairs and desks make a visit more pleasurable and easily navigable.

Many books that had to be stored away or sold at annual book sales are now seeing the light of day at the library. Along with books, including large print versions, the library is offering books on tape/CD, videotapes, and DVDs. Two computers with Internet access are available; free Wi-Fi access is also offered.

The Keizer Community Library has survived and is now thriving due to the hard work and dedication of its leaders, donors and the undying support of Mayor Lore Christopher. The library is not supported by tax dollars; it has to rely on cash donations, fund raising, book sales and dues (a family can join for $5 per year).

The director and the board of directors are not resting on their laurels in their new space. They have plans to make the library come alive with a number of events and programs. They will hold their Children’s Reading Program again this summer. The first in a series of Meet Local Author programs will be held on May 9 with Keizer author Gina Ochsner.

Keizer is a place where volunteers can do anything when they put their hearts and minds into a task. Art Burr has been tireless in seeking an improved, larger library, and he has been backed all the way by the board of directors, which is comprised of Leroy and Stella Horsley, Daisy and Mike Hickman, E. Jane Stevens, Vickie Garvin, Gayle McMurria Bachik and Steve May.

The public can use the library seven days a week. It will be highlighted when the Keizer Heritage Center holds a public open house on Saturday, April 21.

It is said that Keizer is the largest city without its own tax-supported public library. That may be right, but the true believers have never let that stop them from giving Keizer the next best thing: a community library with heart.

—LAZ