Check it out: Services evolve with public needs, library prepares for centennial

December 2012 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community
Public computers are part of the offerings at the Silver Falls Public Library, along with  books, movies, music and other resources.

Public computers are part of the offerings at the Silver Falls Public Library, along with books, movies, music and other resources.

By Kathy Cook Hunter

With the right card in your wallet you are entitled to read the biographies of kings and scientists, to be enchanted by poets and engaged by prose, to discover new music and movies and to walk out the door with an armload of books, magazines, movies and more – without paying.

With the potential to be more valuable than a credit card, the “right” card is a library card.

If you haven’t visited the public libraries in Mount Angel or Silverton lately you are missing out on great opportunities to enrich your life plus a host of wonderful activities taking place in the changing world of the public library.

“The impetus (to change) came from the library board,” Silver Falls Public Library Director Marlys Swalboski said. “They’re always looking for ways to offer more to improve the visibility of the library and connect with the community. The board wanted to provide events or activities that would help bring people to the library and all it has to offer – and to make them more comfortable. A lot of people remember the library as a place they didn’t understand or feel comfortable in. I compare it to me in a hardware store.

“I don’t know where to start, and I feel stupid. We want people to know we want them to feel at ease and that we’re here to help,” Swalboski said.

Silver Falls Public Library
410 S. Water St., Silverton

Tuesday – Thursday,
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Mount Angel Public Library
290 E Charles St., Mount Angel

Tuesday, noon to 6:30 p.m.;

Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m.

Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.

In addition, the five-member library board of directors aims to tie into the community and its events. For example, in December events at the library were scheduled to compliment events at the community center, thus giving participants more to do.

“All over our country, libraries want to remain relevant,” Swalboski said. “I like to think we connect them to various aspects of our culture.”

This year, the Silver Falls Public Library celebrates its 100th anniversary.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the centennial celebration kicks off with an award ceremony for the youthful winners of a poster and bookmark contest.

Local history buff Gus Frederick will speak on the library’s history and milestones from 1913-2013.

In July, there will be a band concert and outdoor ice cream social.

The library’s book club – its longest established program – is reading books that take the 1900s decade by decade, such as The Great Gatsby for the 1920s.

“The library staff thinks it’s interesting and challenging,” Swalboski said. “We don’t always know what response we’re going to get, so it can be fun, but frustrating, too.”

Staff leaders Spring and Ron in Adult Services and Coryn and Shelly  in Youth Services have a variety of plans for celebrating the library’s centennial. The staff runs the library’s expanded programs and Swalboski oversees them, working each into the library’s goals and functions, she said.

Did you know…
At the Silver Falls Library, you can:

• Check out Kill A Watt monitors to
measure the energy usage of household
appliances and electronics. Each monitor
comes with information on how to use
it and how to apply what you learn so
that you can start saving energy.

• The In Stitches group welcomes all
interested on second Saturday of
the month at 10 a.m.

• Get a Cultural Pass to go for free
to the Japanese Gardens; Gilbert’s
Discovery Museum; the Portland Children’s
Museum; and the Chinese Gardens
in Portland

Expanded programs include: In Stitches, a Saturday knit and crochet group (the library has scads of idea books); lectures, violin concerts, the Reptile Man (the kids love him), free monthly movies (and you can bring your own snack), a bi-monthly writers’ group, children’s craft-making, and a fabulous puppet theater in the children’s library.

“We had a huge response to Read Across America, the Dr. Seuss thing,” Swalboski said. “Several hundred attended.”

The writers group, Silverton Scribes, is led by Ron Drake.

“It’s been going over a year now and it’s just been delightful,” Drake said. “Six to eight come on a regular basis. One member is about to try to publish a book about her trip to Africa, and some are poets.”

“I think the money I pay in taxes is well spent,” said library patron Bob Marcum. “I’m mainly a ‘book-getter,’ but I appreciate the programs the library offers.”

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