Actually, it has been a pretty good month but this week has been especially heartening. I am proud to be an Oregonian this week for a couple of reasons. One is the decision handed down on Monday by a federal judge ruling that the Oregon marriage ban for same sex couples in unconstitutional. The second is the election results that create a library district in Jackson County, approve moving forward with construction of a civic center consisting of city offices and a library in Canby, and that approve the issuance of general obligation bonds to renovate and expand the Oregon City Library.
That being said, I have a couple of things to report from earlier in the month. On May 5th and 6th I had the honor of attending National Library Legislative Day with five Oregon librarians who did a great job of telling our library story to Oregon Senators and Members of Congress members. Along with Abigail Elder (Beaverton City Library), Jane Corry (Multnomah County Library), Candice Watkins (Clatsop Community College Library), Sara Charlton (Tillamook County Library), and Susan Stone (Portland Public Schools).
On May 12th Jen Maurer and Ferol Weyand did their usual fabulous job of honoring Letters About Literature winners. The celebration included cookies and punch, a few words from Oregon author, Roseanne Parry (she shared a great story with us) and then most of the students read aloud the letter they had written to an author. The theme of the letters was to express to the author how that work had changed the students way of looking at things. Letters from previous years are posted on our website and the 2014 winning letters will be posted within the next month.
I also got to go on a road trip last week and I think you all know how much I like a road trip. The Hermiston Public Library is celebrating their Centennial and I was invited to attend and say a few words. Hermiston is one of the 31 Oregon communities who received a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a library building between 1910 and 1920. The current building is right next to the Carnegie building which is now the city planning department. There was cake and balloons, historical information and music. Marie Baldo, the library director, and her wonderful staff did a great job on the party. They also dug up a couple of interesting letters between the Hermiston Library Director and Cornelia Marvin who was State Librarian at the time. In response to a question about the “suitability” of particular books for the collection, Miss Marvin made it very clear that there were certain books that should NOT be included in the collection, including The Motor Boys by Clarence Young. So last week, in an act of defiance characteristic of the Hermiston Public Library staff, they presented me a copy of The Motor Boys by Clarence Young for the State Library collection!
On that same road trip I visited the new Irrigon Branch Library of the Oregon Trail Library District. This delightful building replaces a school bus that has served as the branch library for quite some time. As with most building projects they are still waiting for some pieces, including shelving. However, they wanted to be able to use at least part of the facility for summer reading so they made the meeting room into the temporary library, incredibly clever I think.
Finally I attended a reception for the incoming and outgoing Poets Laureate, Peter Sears and Paulann Petersen. I look forward to working with Peter and I know that libraries around the state are looking forward to hosting him.
And I especially want to say a most sincere thank you to Paulann for her four years as Poet Laureate. She traveled 26,500 miles around Oregon and won thousands of hearts during her tenure. If you haven’t attended a reading by her yet make sure you do sometime, it is an amazing experience.