Support for a public library

It was heartening to see the council chambers filled at the Keizer City Council work session on April 6 by people showing their support for a public library in Keizer

Yes, Keizer has a community library. It is run by volunteers with a paid, part-time manager. The Keizer Community Library, which began as a children’s lending library, moved to its current location at the Keizer Cultural Center in 1998.

Several iterations of a community task force addressed the library years ago before throwing its hands up in frustration. Turning it into a public library is closer than ever.

At the work session B.J. Toewe, board vice president of the library, made a strong presentation to the council, seeking $395,000, over three years, out of the $8.8 million in ARPA funds the city will receive from the federal government.

The board of the library and community supporters want the city to fund, in part, hiring a librarian, which is a cornerstone to becoming part of the Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library System (CCRLS). Becoming a part of CCRLS will provide expanded services for patrons of their local library—access to books and other resources from throughout the system. 

Joining Toewe at the work session were John Hunter, executive director of CCRLS and Darci Hanning, a consultant for the State Library of Oregon. Hunter and Patterson made statements of support and answered detailed questions from councilors about the Keizer library’s future.

Akin to the parks and police fees that are added to city water bills, it is hoped the library will get approval from voters to add a fee as well. There is support from across the community for a public library and all the benefits that would bring to Keizer residents.

Parks, police, library—three things that make any city desirable. Keizer residents pay for two of those. They will support a library, too; that was demonstrated by the full-house attendance at the city council’s work session.

Keizer is on the path to having a public library. We are closer than ever, let’s finish the task.         — LAZ