Hood River Library reopens July 1

June 15, 2011

The library will be open on July 1.

At the Hood River branch, a celebration will start at 4 p.m., one year to the day since the library was closed. The event will coincide with the July 1 downtown First Friday.

Officially, the library will reopen on Tuesday, July 5, in the Hood River, Cascade Locks and Parkdale branches.

For the first time, the Parkdale and Cascade Locks branches will have Saturday hours, announced Buzzy Nielsen, the new library director.

Since starting work June 1, Nielsen has been busy developing the schedule, writing job descriptions and preparing a budget for opening the library in July.

In November 2010 county voters approved a County Library District, for which tax revenue won't be collected until November. The library, formerly a department of Hood River County, was closed July 1, 2010, after the county cut it from its general fund budget and voters turned down a May 2010 ballot request to form a taxing district.

In what is known as "early opening," the foundation has donated $60,000 and helped acquire grants and community donations sufficient to get the library open, with limited hours and minimal staffing, from July through October.

"You have made it possible for us to have an early opening day," Nielsen told the Foundation Thursday, his first meeting with the group.

Tuesday was his first meeting with the library district board, chaired by Sara Duckwall Snyder.

Jen Bayer of the foundation board announced Thursday that the May 14 "Feast of Words/Dessert First" event and related dinners have so far raised $18,000 for the early opening. Those proceeds will make it possible for Nielsen to add even more hours this summer. He said he will decide when and where to add hours after he has hired his staff.

Job descriptions have been posted for seven part-time positions; see hoodriverlibrary.org for details

Nielsen told the board that the Cascade Locks hours are designed to coincide with the community's parks and recreation summer events. In Hood River, the Friday evening hours are intended to complement the monthly First Friday events.

It won't be hard for library patrons to get to know Nielsen, who lives in Cascade Locks. He said he will work the desk at all three branches at least one day each week for the first few months.

"It's important that I do this. I want to learn as much as I can about what each branch wants," Nielsen said.

Another of his tasks this summer will be to spend $20,000 from a Wichita Falls Community Foundation Grant on children's collection. Every book purchased under the grant will contain a bookplate reading, "given in honor of longtime Library Director June Knudson," who retired in 2010.

Nielsen noted that while the grant must be spent by Aug. 31, patrons won't necessarily see every one of those books on the shelves right away, because of limited staffing and the time needed to process and catalog each book for circulation.

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