Long-range, the Hood River Library District wants to find a permanent home in Odell.
For now, the library conducts services to the community, and is expanding what it offers.
The main one to keep in mind is the Saturday “Pop-Up Library” at Wy’east Community Church, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekly on Saturdays, with free services including books to check out, crafts to and games to play. Entry is in the northside door of the church, and down the interior ramp.
Yeli Boots coordinates the Odell programs.
“One day, one group came in and spent about two hours, playing games and doing crafts,” Boots said.
“Luckily, when we were looking for a location, the church opened the doors to us here,” Boots said.
She said that in the Pop-Up’s first weekend, Pastor Tim Willis and other church members came in to welcome the library to their space.
Feast of Words, the Library Foundation’s annual “party in the library” fundraiser held March 9 dedicated all its proceeds to supporting and expanding services to Odell, including the cost of a feasibility study that will look at the potential of a permenant place for the library in Odell.
Foundation President Jen Bayer, speaking to Hood River Rotary last month, called it “taking the library to the people,” since the district has no physical branch in Odell. (Branches are located at Parkdale Community Center and at Cascade Locks School.)
At the Pop-Up, computers are set up in basement (where it is cool in the summer, keep in mind).
Feast of Words funds will purchase more laptops and printers, and a storage cart to augment the Pop-Up.
“We’ll have a full collection of items and not just things I can pick up and put in a crate each week,” Boots said.
“As soon as we get storage, things will come together more than they are now,” she said.
“Our goal is to provide wifi internet services, as there is no other location in Odell to do so,” Boots said. “We’re also hoping to purchase takeaway wifi connectors people can check out and take home.” The library is working on a provider for the service.
Exploring partnerships with other agencies is part of the goal of a feasibility study the library will also embark on, Boots noted.
“It’s all steps: Step one, step two, and a long-term plan,” she said, quoting Bayer.
Partners include the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District in locating a new “little library” at Odell Community Park, replacing a metal one made two years ago.
“A new one has been made and it’s a little more secure,” Boots said. “We’ll supply the box, and stock it with books. Most books will be brand new, though community members are welcome to put books into the box,” Boots said.
She said one more “little library” will be placed in central Odell at a location to be determined.
More Odell services
Monthly library bus service (registration and permission slips required) to the main library runs on the last Saturday of the month from the mobile home park on AGA Road (poster at that location provides information). Boots said that in June, the library will add a stop at Odell Community Park.
Boots said she and high school students hired for the program will go door-to-door to get more people signed up.
June through August, the bus service will run weekly.
“The turnout has been great,” she said, ranging from 20 to 40 kids each week. It’s mostly kids who have permission to ride the bus to the library and back to Odell, though families sometimes accompany them, she said.
“We’ve asked ourselves, ‘Is it competing with the Pop-Up Library?” Boots said. “But our view is we’re offering a completely different experience to those users,” she said.
April 19 — The annual community event “Dia de los Ninos” starts at 5:30 p.m. at Mid Valley Elementary, a partnership between the library and other agencies.
In June, Pop-Up Library returns Thursday afternoons with Mercado de la Valle, located in the street just outside the church, making it a twice-weekly event in Odell during the summer.