The Hood River County Library District will host a grand opening party at the new and expanded library space at the Cascade Locks Elementary School on July 7 at 5:30 p.m.

In the past three weeks, the library was moved from its former home in Cascade Locks City Hall, fulfilling a long-standing goal of the library district and its partner, Hood River County School District. Friday was its first day in the new space, located in two former classrooms in the southeast corner of Cascade Locks School.

“We just think it will be more like a community gathering space since it’s nearly three times bigger, and with the expanded children’s area, families can come in and use free wifi and computers,” said Library District Director Rachael Fox. The branch entry is via the joint lobby with the Community Health Center. Parking is available directly in front of the library.

The party will feature live music, appetizers and beverages. The new space will have defined adult, kids and teen spaces and a new theater system, installed Thursday, for showing movies and hosting presentations, and new paint, carpet, furniture, and shelving. The main area can be transformed into a larger meeting space, thanks to new moveable shelving.

“The location is an opportunity because here we’re connected to the school, so this is like a hub of the community, and I think it will bring lots more people in, and also we can connect with the school,” Fox said.

“They can bring kids over and we can hold different activities as well. We’re excited about the partnership.

“The move has been pretty smooth, with staff helping, and we hired movers, and a lot of people helping out,” said Fox, who said the library district acknowledges the Library Foundation members and 2014 and 2018 Feast of Words donors.

“They raised over $38,000 for this project. Thank you to the former Columbia Gorge Lionesses of Cascade Locks who donated over $1,300 to purchase a new train table, trains, toys for in-library use and furniture for the kids and teen area,” she said. A bequest to the district from former library employee Arvilla Armstrong also helped with the new branch.

“We want to thank the Hood River County School District for partnering with the library and the City of Cascade Locks for hosting the library in their building for almost seventy years,” Fox said.

Signage will be installed on WaNaPa street and a bike rack was installed at the entrance.

The children’s area features puzzles, games, and toys including a train station like at other branches “and, of course, lots of books,” Fox said.

The space replaces the second-floor room at city hall, which will become a meeting room.

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