The Hood River County Library is up and running in its new temporary home at 6th and State streets. You can do all the regular library things there, like check out books, read microfiche, browse through magazines and newspapers and surf the Internet.
But you can’t pay your phone bill there.
“We’ve had two people come in just today wanting to pay their phone bill,” said library assistant Elena Smith on Monday. The Dean Building, which is where the library has moved while the addition and renovation of the old library building takes place, used to house Sprint offices.
Aside from the occasional wayward phone customer, things are running smoothly, according to library director June Knudson.
“We’re getting positive comments from people coming in, so that feels good,” Knudson said. She said the biggest challenge has been getting used to having the library’s wares housed in 14 small rooms.
“You have to be psychologically prepared for that when you come in,” she said. The staff has put together signs and maps to help library patrons find their way around.
“It’s a little harder to find space where people can sit down and read,” Knudson said. But, she noted, several “undaunted souls” have persevered. Indeed, on Monday several people sat in the adjoined magazine and computer room, lounging in chairs reading or clicking away at one of the computers.
Kerry Brady of Hood River had no problem finding her way around the new space.
“Everything seems easy to find,” she said. “Everything is well-labeled.”
Kenneth Kane of Mosier said he actually likes the many rooms the library has had to squeeze itself into.
“It allows a little more privacy,” he said as he sat reading a newspaper in a corner of the large print books room. “There are lots of nooks and crannies.”
Librarian Kathy Thomas said the hardest space to organize was the nonfiction room, with its high ceilings and lack of windows.
“Figuring out how to get all the books in there and make it inviting was a challenge,” she said. But, she added, people seem to be happy with the results.
“The children’s room is a lot of fun,” she said. “People come in and say ‘This isn’t the library.’ But then they see how warm and inviting it is.”
The library is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Preschool story time is held every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.