Invitation to talk, play: Mount Angel Library wins an award

April 2016 Posted in Community
Mount Angel Library Director Carrie Caster assists a patron, while Youth Services Librarian Stephanie Laing works in the background.

Mount Angel Library Director Carrie Caster assists a patron, while Youth Services Librarian
Stephanie Laing works in the background.

By Kathleen Sabella

Mount Angel Library Director Carrie Caster is not a prim and proper “Marian the Librarian.”

She’s quite the opposite.

Unlike “Marian the Librarian” in The Music Man, Caster will never utter “shush” in the library.

Instead, at the Mount Angel Library you will hear children reading to attentive therapy dogs; Lego engineers constructing buildings; paper flowers being crafted; straw rockets being launched; happy kids jumping in a ball pit or zipping down slides, laughter at a movie matinée or families playing board games.

For library patrons who enjoy quiet activities, you can still curl up by the fireplace with a good book; use one of the seven computers to do Internet research or explore your family tree for free with or read a magazine.

Caster said she believes a library should “celebrate creativity and be a vibrant part of the community and quality of life for all ages.”

This is the atmosphere Caster, Assistant Librarian Marilyn Clouser and Youth Services Librarian Stephanie Laing work to create.

Mount Angel Library
290 E Charles St.
503 845 6401
11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesdays
11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday
Thursday and Friday
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday
Closed Sunday

Consequently, the Mount Angel Library is a triumph of innovation over staid tradition, creativity over conformity, and energetic hands-on learning over the “ho-hum boring.”

Among the programs offered are: Lego Club; Read to the Dogs; Spring Break Maker Time; Science Time; Indoor Play Time; Movie Matinée; Family Game Night; Toddler Story Time; Family Story Time and Adult Craft Club.

The library recently added a bilingual early literacy computer to help kids learn through fun interactive games.

The Oregon State Library Board took notice of all this happy commotion and gave the library an award for “outstanding” planning and implementation of its “Ready to Read” program.

“Ready to Read,” a state of Oregon grant program encouraging summer reading, runs from June through the first week in August. Last summer, more than 300 kids and 30 adults took part of the fun in Mount Angel.  Even bigger plans are underway for this summer with the sports themed “Ready, Set, Read!”

As a young child, Caster was enchanted by fairy and folk tales and by the magic, wonder and the new worlds they unveiled.

This sparked a lifelong passion for learning and creativity which has guided her career path.

After receiving her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Arizona, she worked in its special collections library, was an archivist at the Arizona Historical Society and a librarian at the Salem Library as well as an intern at the Portland Art Museum.

In the 1990s, she owned and operated the Three Graces bookstore and an art gallery in Silverton.

Caster could be described as the antidote to the stereotypical “Marian the Librarian.”

With her warm smile, easy manner and spirit of fun, she is a “new age librarian,” creating an environment where exploration, creativity and learning  flourish.

At the Mount Angel Library all you need to bring is your curiosity!

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