Friday, September 23, 2011

"There is not such a cradle of democracy on earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration." Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919

This past Monday I traveled from Eugene to Hood River for the SSD Board Meeting at the library there.  What a thrill and privilege it was to visit the Hood River library, recently reopened after a year's closure due to loss of funding.

The library is in the original Carnegie building with an addition built on at a later date.  Taking a brief walk around the building I spotted a delightful sculpture near the trees.  Taller than I it had a small brass plaque identifying it as "Stoniferous Pine" and was made entirely of rocks and flat stones in the shape of a tree.
They were fitted into place with no mortar, held together by their careful, complicated placement.

From the Hood River County Library District's website: "Hood River County's first publicly-funded library opened on September 13, 1912."   "Hood River County Library District recently became a member of the Libraries of Eastern Oregon, LEO, an organization dedicated to helping the many small, rural libraries across Oregon deliver great services to their users." 

The library reopened this July thanks to enthusiastic community support, generous monetary donations, and grants; and thanks to their library Foundation which used imaginative fund raising dinners held in local homes with themes based on books, in addition to their further dedicated efforts to solicit stable funding.  The Hood River library stands as a testament to those grass roots movements that often achieve what bureaucracy can't or won't.

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