The Roseburg Library locked its doors Wednesday. It’s the final location in the Douglas County Library System to close since the Board of Commissioners announced it can’t afford to fund the service anymore. There is no plan yet in place for a way to re-open the library.
10-year-old Liam Calvert was among a small gathering of people who came to say goodbye in the library’s last hour of operation.
Calvert: “Well, they have a lot of really good books and they’re very friendly. And it’s a good place to come and hang out and get a good book to read. So, I’m kind of sad that they’re not going to do that anymore.”
His mother Bettina Frost says it’s embarrassing to see the library close.
Frost: “He just had his last day for his book club at school and this is where we get the books for that and now I’m going to have to hunt them down and order them and purchase them and so, yeah, we rely on the library. And it’s a little embarrassing that we can’t support something like this. What community doesn’t have a library?”
Harold Hayes is Library Director. He surveys the main room of this building that was erected with public funding in the 1990s. He says there are people working to re-open it in some capacity, perhaps as a reading room as some other Douglas County branch libraries have done.
Hayes: “Anything that we can do to allow people to have access to information to provide literacy for children, anything that communities can do along those lines is great. But in the long term, a library system like we have had, that is publicly funded is the answer. And, that’s been the answer for 200 years in this country.”
A ballot measure to create a special library funding district failed in Douglas County last November. They may try again, encouraged by Josephine County, which just last month passed one. But it took years without library service before that happened.