“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet “

The Oregon State Library is working to move from a team-based organization to a service-based organization. We are still exploring what that means and how we will implement the move. For the last number of years we have had four teams. We will now be calling those groups of staff members divisions. We have created new names for each division and we anticipate they will provide a clearer description of the work and audience for the divisions.

Government Information and Library Services is the division that provides reference assistance to state government staff and to persons on official state business. Specialized collections include federal and state government publications and a comprehensive collection of materials about Oregon. The library also provides permanent public access to Oregon state government publications.

Library Support and Development Services includes planning for statewide library development, providing equal access to information resources for K-12 students through the Oregon School Library Information System, collecting and reporting public library statistics, and administering state and federal library grant programs. Current priorities are improving early literacy services to children in public libraries and facilitating access to library services for all Oregonians.

The Oregon Talking Book and Braille Library is the Regional Library for the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Oregonians who are unable to read standard print because of visual or physical disability are eligible for free library services. Books and magazines are available in audio format and Braille.

The Operations Division provides services and resources for the other divisions. It includes the business manager, accountant, volunteer coordinator, information technology, executive assistant and state librarian.

We continue to be “at your service”…

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SL3: School Libraries, Summer Lunch, Summer Learning

The State Library is involved in a partnership with OregonASK, National Summer Learning Association, Summer Food Oregon, Bazillion Books and local schools to keep the doors of school libraries open in concert with summer food programs. Katie Anderson is, of course, doing all the partnership work but I had an opportunity to join her in rubbing elbows with Senator Wyden as he visited three sites this week.


He was in Woodburn on Tuesday, Salem on Wednesday and Springfield today. In each location he was joined by his staff,  local program staff and policy makers.

In Salem the Senator was joined by Deputy Oregon Superintendent of Schools, Rob Saxton, to serve lunch and they did a great job!

Wyden:Saxton Salem




Beth Unverzagt is the Executive Director of OregonASK. Her responsibilities include coordinating state level efforts around afterschool and summer programming, representing Oregon at the national level and working with partners to ensure the goals of the network are achieved. She takes those responsiblities very seriously and has boundless energy when it comes to afterschool and summer programming

MKD w babyShe and her incredible staff orchestrated the road show which also provided me with an opportunity to talk to kids and hold a baby, something that I don’t often have a chance to do these days.

Senator Wyden not only served the kids lunch and read to them,Springfield w:kids he also talked with the grownups about the need for the libraries, lunch and learning.

It was great fun to rub elbows but was even more fun  seeing all those kids reading books and eating lunch. If you have questions about SL3 please contact Katie Anderson, I know she would be pleased to talk with you.

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A Tale of Two Libraries

The Oregon State Library Board held its regular meeting at the Monroe Community Library, a branch of the Corvallis-Benton County Library, last Friday. The new library opened almost exactly one year ago. Although we can’t afford to do it for every meeting, the Board does  travel to other libraries for their meetings on occasion.

I had not been to visit the Monroe Library  since it opened, even though I only live about 15 miles north of it in Corvallis, Back of Libraryso I was delighted to have an excuse to visit.

I did watch the building progress from the outside when I drove by, it grew from a dilapidated train depot to an incredible community library/center. The old freight depot was transformed into meeting rooms and a library was built onto that.

Some of the highlights for me were the lovely “living room” area with a fireplace, Fizz Boom the Robot, and the corridor in front of the meeting rooms that evoke the train station. Lori Pelkey, the branch manager, uses the “living room” for storytime. Lori provided the Board with an in-depth tour, if you go visit ask her to do the same for you, I’m guessing she will agree to do it. Fizz Boom Robot

Living Room


Train Depot








The next day I drove to Klamath Falls to attend the grand opening of the new South Suburban Branch of the Klamath County Library. The branch had been located in a very small space in a strip mall. They purchased an existing building, within walking distance of several schools, and had it remade into a branch library.

KFalls opening with Commissioner and Friends


KFalls buildingAt the grand opening there was much talk about the importance of vision, both envisioning the future and being able to see in your mind’s eye what the branch will actually look like. I don’t think any of us can do either of those things flawlessly but the library staff and others involved in the new branch did a pretty great job. Again, a wonderful library/community center was created through the hard work, good will, and generosity of an Oregon community.

The other thing that struck me about both of these buildings was their integration into the culture of the local community. In Monroe the restored train station was original to that community, the 38 foot ceiling in the entry was designed to be reminiscent of a grain elevator, and the three cupolas in the main part of the library evoked the cupolas on the big red barns in the community. In Klamath County children in several schools had heard the recollections of a county resident of Japanese descent who had been interned at Tule Lake California during WW II. The children then created tiles depicting diversity that were grouped and hung around the new library.Klamath tiles

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Statistical Snippets

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has released two reports in the last several days that have interesting data about both State Libraries and public libraries. The first is the State Library Administrative Agency (SLAA) Report Fiscal Year 2012. The report provides highlights from the SLAA Survey which compares key elements and trends in revenue and expenditures, workforce and staff development, services, and identification and governance.

The second report is the annual Public Libraries in the United States Survey: Fiscal Year 2011. This is the report that brings together the public library statistics that you provide to OSL each year with public library statistics from the rest of the country. In addition to the full report the IMLS Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation also provides a fact sheet, state by state profiles, and supplementary tables.




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A Visit to the State Library

A couple of years ago the crack library development services team instituted a new library directors “meet and tour”. Over the years there has been discussion about how to engage and orient new library directors to the mysteries of the Oregon State Library. A number of years ago we developed a Public Library Directors Notebook that one day will live on the web. There is lots of information on our website, it just is not organized as well as it could be.

On Monday we had a group of 14 library staff members attend the “meet and tour”. Most of the planning and ground work is done by Ferol Weyand, library consulting assistant a.k.a. cruise director. I had an opportunity to chat with the group for about a 1/2 hour upon their arrival. It is nice to be able to provide an overview of the State Library and then have a few moments for my soap box. They were very polite.

After my introduction the real information was provided and included a short presentation from each member of Library Development about the services we provide. We also have Elke Bruton, the librarian in Talking Book and Braille Services, give an overview of TBABS services and how we love to work with local libraries.

I think the high point for most is the grand tour of the Oregon State Library by our own Jey Wann.  She knows the library inside and out having worked here since childhood and is incredibly articulate. We do have a beautiful building and there are some interesting nooks and crannies.

After the tour those who have the time have lunch together (everyone pays for their own). This time Ferol arranged take out from one of our favorite catering and lunch spots, Alcyone. It was a great time to just sit and chat.

So, keep your eyes open for our next “meet and tour” OR come to the State Library for a visit and I will give you a personal tour. Maybe not as good as Jey’s but then nobody’s is…

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What a Great Week!

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. Motor BoysSo 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. Irrigon 5-14 (3)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.


Irrigon 5-14







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.


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From Your Slacker State Librarian

I have been extremely lax in my blogging and I will try to do better.

That being said, I have had some great visits and meetings with some great folks in the last several weeks. It all started when I got back from my trip to Denmark, which was fabulous by the way! I took a road trip with my colleagues in Library Development, Arlene Weible and Jen Maurer. Arlene and I were both going to be presenting at the Umatilla County Special Library District staff day at the Hermiston Public Library and Jen was going to do a presentation for school staff in La Grande. I love to use these opportunities to visit some of our great libraries and so we stopped by the Sherman County Public School Library in Moro and the Gilliam County Library in Condon.

Then, last week was the Oregon Library Association Conference at the Salem Conference Center. Three cheers for the work of the 2014 Conference Committee, chaired by BJ Toewe. It was a great conference, lots of good sessions, lots of good conversations, and a couple emotional moments during the incredible presentation by the World’s Strongest Librarian at the Thursday evening banquet and during the Awards luncheon. I would like to make a special note of this year’s Evelyn Sibley Lampman Award Winner, Lee Farren. The following is from the announcement posted to kids-lib by Becky Pearson, Chair of the Lampman Award Committee.

“The Lampman Award honors a living individual who has made a significant contribution to the children of Oregon in the areas of literature or library service. The Lampman Award is named after Evelyn Sibley Lampman, an Oregon author and educator, and has been awarded annually since 1982.
Lee Farren was an excellent choice for this year’s Lampman Award. For the past 10 years she has touched the hearts of the children of Ukiah encouraging them to engage in reading, writing, art and literature. She has made a real difference for the children of this small Oregon community, and has helped lessen the load for the other adults who work with these children. “

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