August 2020: Between the Shelves

In This Issue

President’s NoteLibraries of the World
Letter from ReedHarlem Renaissance
Giving That Inspires: Carol HildebrandImagination Library Updates
Library Staff Spotlight: Alec Chunn   What Are We Reading?
Library Levy InformationUpcoming Events
Traveler’s Spotlight Submissions

I recently came across a comment by an attendee of the 2019 Portland Book Festival, who spoke of “why books and words are important—how we are all human and how we all need that emotional connection and community.” The Eugene Public Library immediately comes to mind as I consider that observation. Even with the present limited operations, the library opens doors and windows to so many parts of the world, including the world of the self. The Library is and will remain the pulsing heart of the Eugene community.

Eugene voters recognized this truth in 2015 when they approved a five-year Local Option Levy. The funds generated by this modest levy (an average of $37 per year over the five-year period) allowed the Library to:

  • Increase hours in all branches
  • Expand programs and services
  • Provide more materials and technology

In July, the City Council agreed to ask voters to renew the levy, at a slightly lower rate. You will see the evy on your November 3 ballot. And do see the interview with Carol Hildebrand in this newsletter on how you can support the levy even prior to the upcoming election.

The Library needs these funds more than ever, with the demand for digital resources up 75% since the pandemic began. More than 1,000 new library cards have been issued in the past four months. The Eugene community depends on  its vibrant Library to help everyone through this time of crisis. Please check out the Library Levy website at www.librariesforeveryonevoteyes.org for more information.

We hope you enjoy the many interesting articles in this edition of our newsletter. There’s a delightful interview with Youth Services Librarian Alec Chunn; and longtime Library supporter (and former director) Carol Hildebrand just sparkles in the donor interview. Read about the amazing renovation of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Library in Washington, DC, in our Libraries of the World column. And Executive Director Reed Davaz McGowan calls our attention to the upcoming Virtual Imagination Library Luncheon—mark your calendars for September 24! Readers have so enjoyed our relatively new column about what people at the Foundation are reading—and we’d love to hear what you are reading, too.

Wishing you all beautiful summer days, and wishing you good health as well,
Ellen Todras
President

Over the last several months, we have been working with the Library to learn how we can address emerging needs brought by COVID-19. Resulting from these conversations, we are pleased to announce the designation of $25,000 from the Frank Falch estate to establish the Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is a one-year project to support the Library as its staff develops innovative ways of serving our community in response to COVID-19 and the reduction of in-person services at branches. With its priority to reach underserved community members, we look forward to experimental projects that engage people where and when they need library services the most. Please reach out to me via email or phone if you’d like to learn more or support this project. 

With the school year approaching, our Public School Access Initiative will enrich all public students in Eugene by providing library services to supplement school-based learning. In facing uncertain months ahead, we are proud to support student success and enhance library services for our entire community in partnership with the Eugene Public Library and 4J and Bethel school districts. 

As we enter the late summer, I’m looking forward to having more opportunities to “meet” you all at our upcoming events. Please read about our events and get your tickets now for the annual, and now virtual, Imagination Library Luncheon on Thursday, September 24th at 11:45am. Enjoy time with your friends, the Foundation community, and local authors Bob Welch and Andre Royal Sr. as we raise funds for children’s literacy together. Look in your mailboxes for your invitation soon! 

In community, 
Reed, Executive Director

Giving that Inspires introduces you to a Eugene Public Library Foundation supporter. This month’s profile features Carol Hildebrand, former Eugene Public Library Director and EPLF Board member, and now Emeritus EPLF Board Member. She and her husband Duane – who many know as the person behind the beautifully handcrafted birdhouses and treasure chests featured at recent Booked auctions – currently live at Cascade Manor. Carol spoke with us by phone in early August 2020.

Do you remember your earliest experience of a library?
I grew up in the country, near a small town in South Dakota. The “library” was located in the basement of City Hall. It had about six shelves. I didn’t see a real public library until college. I would take my student ID and go downtown to use it at the library. Of course no one had ever heard of Mitchell, SD – or Dakota Wesleyan, where I went to college – until George McGovern. He was a graduate and taught there, though he was already in Washington, DC by the time I arrived. 

What brought you to Oregon?
A job. My husband is from North Dakota but we met in Seattle at the University of Washington – at library school. There were lots of us Prairie Dogs out there. After we got our degrees, we took jobs in different states (Iowa and Minnesota). Later, we decided to get married and go back to Seattle. Duane got a job in Hood River, OR – a good first step – so we moved there in 1970. Eventually I became Librarian at the Lake Oswego library. We came to Eugene in 1982 when I started as the Assistant City Librarian. At the time, the Librarian was a very charismatic character named Jim Meeks. He loved to tell stories and sit around and talk. His last name was odd, because he was anything but [meek]. When we had the first Eugene Celebration, he entered the bookmobile in the parade and marched out in front of it waving at everyone. I became the Eugene Public Library Director – by then they’d changed the title to Director – in 1990 and retired in 2002.

What do you remember most about your job? 
All the customers. I always got to talk to the people who had “a helpful suggestion” to make. Getting to know the library’s many friends and supporters – that was fun. And of course getting to pick out all those books on my way home. It was just part of the routine of leaving work: purse, keys and bringing home books. I always have to have a pile of books around or I don’t feel dressed.

Your work evolved into board service for the Eugene Public Library Foundation. What initiative were you most proud of during your tenure there?
The thing I’m proudest of, and worked hardest on, was the current downtown library building.  There was such a dedicated group of people that worked on that. The 13th & Olive library was built in 1959. At the time, it was wonderful and new and huge, and nobody could have anticipated how much Eugene would grow in the 60s and 70s. But by 1982, they were shelving books in the basement – there was just no room left in the building. We worked for years to get a new library. The EPLF raised $5 million to get it done, which was a lot of money in those days. I also served as the Liaison between the Foundation and Friends of the Library boards for close to a decade.

You’re still an active advocate for the Library. Tell me about your involvement with the Libraries for Everyone campaign. 
I’m proud to be volunteering with Libraries for Everyone – Vote Yes! to promote a small levy on the November 2020 ballot that will bring a huge benefit for the entire community. This is a renewal of a levy that we passed in 2015. What that levy did is add 22 hours per week to the schedules of the Sheldon and Bethel branches and Sunday morning hours at the downtown location. It added a big chunk for more books and electronic materials and things like our Maker Hub, plus classes and programs where kids and adults can learn so many things. This levy will continue that. During the pandemic, some people thought, “Oh, well, the library is closed.” But there’s been huge activity there! The staff has been working flat out since the virus hit. Use of the Library’s virtual resources are up almost 75% and we’ve issued nearly 1000 new library cards – people are signing up more than ever! 

I think the pandemic has helped people realize how critical a public library is for access and skill building – and it’s not just families with kids, but adults and seniors as well. Not everyone has a laptop at home. Have you ever looked around at how many library branches are near senior apartment buildings? People love their branches and need to be able to keep them open. And the library needs the funding not just for more books but for more electronic resources for people to use from home. Talk about opportunities for everybody!
So I encourage people to vote yes to support the upcoming library levy, and donate to the campaign if possible. Actually, now that I think about it: if you’re interested in putting up a lawn sign in early September, give me a call at 541-434-4254!

The fact that people can check out more online resources and participate in virtual programming shows us how well the Eugene Public Library has pivoted to serve its community in a time of need. 
Isn’t it incredible! The Friends of the Library are doing it too. You know, they’ve run this huge book sale since 1976, and the revenue from that allows them to routinely give $100,000 to the Library. When it had to be canceled this year, we found ourselves sitting on more than 1000 packed boxes ready for the sale. So the Friends decided to do a bag sale instead. Stay tuned for more opportunities to order a bag of books based on whatever category you want – memoirs, fiction, cookbooks, sci-fi, etc. For $10 you get 10 books that they pick out and bundle for you. Then you drive over to their warehouse when it’s your scheduled time, pop your trunk and they put them in. While their August sale has passed, there will be another one in September! Visit their website for news about upcoming sales and ways to support the Library! 

It’s fun to think about bringing home a bundle of books and seeing what surprises they’ve picked out for you. Do you have a favorite book?
Always the murder mystery that I’m reading at the moment.

What’s on your bedside table right now?
Phillip Margolin’s Lost Lake – he’s the Portland attorney who stopped practicing and started writing mysteries.

What’s been your favorite “comfort read” book during the pandemic?
I’ve done nothing but comfort reading for years – mindless murder mysteries. 

Kindle or Paper?
If it’s not on paper it doesn’t exist.

How do you organize your books? Piles? By color? 
I don’t own any books. I borrow them all and take them back to Eugene Public Library or the library at Cascade Manor. Sometimes I borrow friends’ books. I stack them up in piles by my bedside – the ones I’ve read and the ones I haven’t read yet. 

You’re hosting a literary dinner party. What three authors do you invite?
Kate Wilhelm because she’s such a great writer. Bill Sullivan because he loves to talk. And probably John Sanford because I think he must be funny – his books certainly are. I wouldn’t invite someone like Poe. Don’t you think he’d be a drag?

Alec Chunn is a Youth Services Librarian at the Downtown branch of the Eugene Public Library. He is passionate about fostering a safe place for children to grow in the greater Eugene community. We recently caught up with Alec during a Zoom interview and learned about the myriad of resources available to children even during the pandemic.

Are you a native Eugenian? If not, where are you from, and what brought you here?

I’m not a native Eugenian. I’m actually from Southeast Washington and grew up in the tri-cities area. I ended up in Oregon after I went to Boston for graduate school at Simmons University. When I was in Boston, I really missed the Pacific Northwest. I started applying for jobs and ended up with an AmeriCorps position with the United Community Action Network in Roseburg. I served at the Southern Oregon Education Service District, where I spent time working with early intervention preschool, as well as the local library, leading sensory story time, which was an inclusive event for local children. We also brought book bags to early education students.

As my AmeriCorps term was coming to an end, I saw a job posting at the Eugene Public Library. Positions were opening up because of the levy funding that the library received in 2016. I started at the Bethel branch, but a lot of people started retiring a couple of years later and I was able to transfer to the youth services department at the Downtown branch.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Eugene?

There are so many good things about this city. When I was living in Southern Oregon, I would come to Eugene for concerts and more cultural experiences. I also really love the bike paths and ability to get most places by foot or bike.

I also find that there’s an undercurrent of whimsy in Eugene. You can find it anywhere, but I love that you can be walking around town and see a stump with a fairy house sitting on it, or a painted fire hydrant, or a new mural. I’m also very entertained by the slug queen pageant. It’s so silly and I go every year.

What sort of relationship did you have with the library throughout your childhood and adolescence?

This will come as a surprise, but I didn’t really have a relationship with my library at all. As a kid, we moved across the river, and my local library was really far away from our new home. But I do remember in 8th grade, we had a skip-day and my friends and I actually skipped class to go to the library! I didn’t have a library card so I got one and had my ID photo taken. Although I had been away for a long time, it was a good way to be reacquainted with the library.

I will say that I did have a really strong relationship with the local Barnes & Noble. It was cool to go to the mall when I was a teenager, so I always wandered through the stacks there and collected books. I used to really want to work in a bookstore, but I love the library now because you don’t actually have to sell anything to get people to read books.

For college, I went to Western Washington University, and because it was an education school, they had a great children’s library. I was studying Creative Writing and Theatre, and wanted to be a children’s writer, so I loved going there.

When did you start working at the library? What is your role?

I started working at the Eugene Public Library in June 2016, as  a branch librarian at the Bethel branch. In 2018, I transferred to Youth Services at the Downtown branch. Now I coordinate programming and create community partnerships, and I get to plan some really cool events, big and small in size. We’ve done Harry Potter book nights, and book groups for youth. I love doing both kinds of events.

Recently I took a temporary promotion, so now I’m a Youth Services Supervisor, which means I’m doing everything I was doing before in addition to supervising a few staff members.

What is your favorite part of working at the library?

My favorite part of working at the library is that there isn’t an obligation of anyone checking anything out. People can just come hang out and it’s a safe space. I have a serious love for books, and I love having conversations about our resources in circulation, especially with kids. I think the conversations kids have are fascinating and fresh, and they don’t have a filter. They don’t feel obligated to like the classics. They like what they like and aren’t ashamed of it. I love when you get to see a kid who builds this stack of books that they can barely carry and take it out the door with them. I also love when you see people reading to each other in the library. It’s very sweet.

I came into libraries for books, but what I’ve discovered I love the most is that there’s a sense of community that the library creates and builds. Helping kids feel safe, make friends, and helping parents find what they’re looking for are the best parts of my job.

What is your favorite memory of working at the library?

I’ll tell you about two!

The first is that I helped plan the Harry Potter book night, and myself and some others built a cardboard maze on the second floor for the event. Being a part of that was so much fun. My coworker, Mindie Marsh, mapped the whole thing but she deserves credit for her amazing math skills throughout the process. We pieced together all of these cardboard panels, and being able to look at that from the third floor balcony was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

Secondly, I’ve been leading a book group for 9-12 year old children, and my favorite memory was when we were reading a book called The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez. For the activity that went along with the book, we made zines. We just used folded up paper and made it into a book, and listened to punk music since that was the theme of the book. I even fake dyed my hair blue for the occasion. I had one kid who had been coming to the book group for a while who was usually really quiet, but at the end of this session, he came up to me and showed me five or six zines that he had made at home. For a while, I had a hard time figuring out how to reach him, but after this it was clear that although he was quiet, he just participated in a different way. This experience really helped me understand the kids I work with even better, and it’s so great to be able to foster an environment where kids can be creative. There’s a surprise factor with kids that’s so amazing. The things they come up with are incredible, and it’s pretty cool to place value on what they can make and hold it up and be proud of it.

What stands out for you about the Eugene Public Library?

I love the space so much. When I visited Eugene for the first time, I remember walking into the Downtown library and getting an informal tour from a children’s librarian. I was so dazzled by how big and beautiful the space is. I love all of the art, sculptures, and the rotunda. I remember leaving and being like, “I really want to work here.”

I also love my coworkers and the way we’re always trying to serve our communities. We try to figure out who isn’t being served, and then work to figure out how to do better. We also have a children’s display case where kids can bring in things they want to display. We’re able to make space for children to feel like they matter. We’ve had some bring in Lego displays, and we even had one kid make a display of photos of himself, which was funny. It’s so cool to see kids bring in people they love and say, “Things I made are here in the library!”

How have your days changed since the library closed due to COVID-19?

I won’t lie, it has been really hard to serve youth in this time. A lot of us in Youth Services love the conversations we have with kids, but now it feels like we’re communicating more with parents instead of children because we’ve been doing a lot of tele-services. It’s been challenging and a lot of creativity has been used to figure out how to serve kids in the community and continue supporting families.

This experience has helped me learn how to use different platforms for live-streaming and organize online reading events for kids. It has been an interesting change. We’ve also been going to summer food sites to bring books to kids for them to keep. We usually do that in the building as well, but it’s nice to reach the folks who may not come to the building. It’s great whether we’re going to schools or affordable housing units, and kids come running as if we’re the ice cream truck.

We can’t have the book group in person anymore, but now we’re doing it by mail. Kids can sign up and receive a box in the mail full of goodies, including the book being read. It’s really exciting to reach families in new ways outside of Zoom. Kids are Zoom-ed out, so bringing creative programming to the home is amazing.

What are you reading right now?

This is kind of interesting: I’m actually on the committee for the Caldecott Award. So I’m reading a lot of books that are in the running to win the award in January. I can’t reveal what they are, but it’s been fun to get these books in the mail lately.Other than that, I recently finished Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, which is a remix of Stamped from the Beginning by Kendi. While Stamped from the Beginning is for adult readers, Stamped goes through America’s racist past and present in a way that is readable for youth.

Eugene Public Library Foundation is proud to endorse the local option library levy ballot measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot.The 2015 levy shows a track record of success by meeting goals for additional hours and access, more programs and services, and more materials and technology. Renewal will ensure the Eugene Public Library continues to be a powerful free resource for everyone at a slightly lower property tax rate. People turn to libraries during challenging economic times. Funding from the levy will help our community recover together and support students’ success when they need it most. 

For more information and to join the campaign, visit librariesforeveryonevoteyes.org.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. was completed in 1972 to replace the Central Library of Washington D.C.   The original building was designed by the German modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  However, the structure did not age well.  The dark interiors and design offered few inspiring spaces for reading or contemplation and discouraged community gathering.   Further, the building itself needed repairs and environmental upgrades.  

The library closed in March 2017 for much needed upgrades and the beautifully renovated space is set to reopen in fall 2020.  In the interior, the renovations include a redesigned entryway with publicly commissioned art, a large auditorium and conference center, a redesigned reading room, and a workspace for artists.  Better fixtures, increased light, and comfortable furniture make the library cozier and more inviting.  The D.C. Public Library intends to prioritize employing immigrants, veterans, disconnected youth, people of color, and returning citizens in the new library café and other spaces.   On the exterior, some brick walls have been replaced by glass and a garden pavilion. 

Inside the library, maker spaces offer sewing machines and a tool-rental library.  The Washingtoniana Collection includes books, newspaper archives, maps, census records, and oral histories related to the city’s history.   The library also has a Black Studies Center established in 1972 to collect documents related to African American Culture. 

The library’s reopening this fall has been dampened by the COVID pandemic and the planned reopening celebration has been cancelled.  However, the bright and inspiring new library offers the city’s residents hope for the future and a space to gather and learn once we are all able to do so again safely.

You have likely heard of the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of Black American literature, journalism, activism, and art that rose alongside other modernist artistic movements in the US and Europe beginning in the 1920s. The movement included luminaries such as W. E. B. DuBois, Arna Bontemps, and Jessie Redmon Fauset; poets such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen; visual artists including Aaron Douglas; and renaissance humans such as Zora Neale Hurston and Claude McKay. But as with any movement, the Harlem Renaissance included supporters, champions, patrons, and groupies, many of them forgotten by history. In “The Librarian at the Nexus of the Harlem Renaissance,” Cara Giaimo overviews one such supporter, New York Public Library librarian Regina Anderson. Through her work, first at the 135th St. branch in Harlem and later at other locations, Anderson met and supported many of the top creators and thinkers of the movement, giving them a space to write, a platform to speak, or a couch to surf on. Her story is well worth reading and remembering.

Join the Imagination Library Advisory Board and Foundation in celebrating the 6th birthday of the Imagination Library with our Virtual Imagination Library Luncheon on Thursday, September 24th at 11:45am. Tickets are on sale now and the event will feature local authors Bob Welch and Andre Royal Senior. Be inspired and help us raise funds for the Imagination Library of Eugene! 

It’s time for our fourth-annual Imagination Library photo challenge! To enter, simply fill out this form by submitting contact information, photos of your reader, and a short paragraph on what the Imagination Library has meant to you. Know someone who participated in the Imagination Library of Eugene? Forward this newsletter to them!

In news that will likely surprise no one, your Eugene Public Library Foundation board and staff members are book people. Here is a snapshot of the book some of us are into right now.

Hans McKnight, Board Member
Thunder over the Ochoco: Distant Thunder (Volume II) by Gale Ontko
This is a historical account of Eastern Oregon, picking up at the end of the Trappers era in Oregon and as the first wagon trains started to emerge into Oregon. It’s an interesting account focusing on the Indian experience as much as the first settlers, and also talks about landmarks and locations very familiar to anyone who has spent much time east of the Cascades. 

Ellen Todras, Board President
I just finished Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout. She is such a keen observer of human behavior, loss, and rediscovery. Loved this novel, as I have all of her books. Got it through Library2Go, thanks to the Eugene Public Library!

Lisa Rubenstein Calevi, Board Member
I recently enjoyed this gem of a novel, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. It offers nuanced musings on how aspects of an individual’s lived experience – a life lived – embed differently in the memories of others with whom his life intersects. 

Matt Keating, Board MemberMe and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. Our entire board at Lane Community College committed to read Saad’s work and do an introspective examination of the ways in which we unknowingly hold up archaic and damaging institutions founded on and perpetuating racism.

Renee Buchanan, Board Member
I recently finished , Board MemberThe Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey. I don’t play tennis, and run away from most moving spheres, but this book is really about learning how to stop the noise of the voice in your head that is constantly telling you that you are doing things wrong, and to learn to focus and be present. Can you believe this nearly 50 year old book is still in print? That in itself is a recommendation.

Ashleigh Meier, Board Member
I’ve recently really enjoyed The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. This is an emotional story filled with themes of race, identity, and class. I found it incredibly thought-provoking and poignant. I read it back-to-back with her other novel, The Mothers, which was also phenomenal.

Marta Powers, Board Co-TreasurerJust finished Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson about a young woman, going nowhere fast, who takes on the task of taking care of twins that catch on fire. Yes, catch on fire. It doesn’t hurt them but burns their clothes and surroundings. A little sophomoric but fun and heartwarming.

Allison Howard, Board Co-Treasurer
I am reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This is his first historical fiction novel and has a fantasy component. I don’t normally gravitate toward magical realism, but the way Coates weaves this into the overall story is very beautiful. You can tell he did a great deal of research on an important story to tell.

Sarah Stoeckl, Board Member
I recently read Here for It, or How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas. This book is a memoir within a collection of essays and is a smart and funny and lovely exploration of being gay, Black, Christian, and human in America 2020. I laughed. I cried. I was here for it.

Sarah Coates, Board Member
I just finished Kevin Kwan’s new book, Sex and Vanity. It was a fantastic book for tapping into that vacation, “beach read” feel from home. It brought the same upbeat, whimsical tone as Crazy Rich Asians while introducing a fascinating new set of characters to root for (and against, as the case may be). 

In Conversation with Experts and Enthusiasts
2nd Friday of each month from 12-1pm

Join the Foundation and a variety of guest speakers for a new monthly event series.  We’ll host virtual lunch break conversations on a variety of topics of local interest connected to the ever delightful quest for knowledge and inspiration.

The first monthly event in the series will be on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12pm, and will feature Dr. Lisa Price, a professor of anthropology at Oregon State University, presenting on The Biological and Cultural Construction of Race. Dr. Price will lecture briefly, participate in a Q&A, and share resources for further reading as we gather and engage with each other.

To register and read about the speaker series, please visit our event page. 

Virtual Imagination Library Luncheon
Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 11:45am

Tickets are on sale now and celebrating the 6th birthday of the Imagination Library will feature local authors Bob Welch and Andre Royal Senior. Be inspired and help us raise funds for the Imagination Library of Eugene!

The Bookish Brain Trivia Night: Round 3
Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 6pm

It’s another battle of knowledge! We’re hosting the next Bookish Brain Trivia Night the week before Halloween. Show off your costumes, share your wide-ranging knowledge, and raise funds for the Eugene Public Library while competing for prizes (and bragging rights). Join as a team of 4-6 people, or as an individual to be matched to a team. Buy your tickets before it sells out!

We invite our readers to submit pictures of libraries and literary points of interest from around the world. With traveling limitations now, we look forward to sharing more of these special visits our readers have shared from past adventures. If you would like to submit a library highlight from your travels, please send to info@eplfoundation.org

Cathy Briner at Puhoi Library in Puhoi, New Zealand
Submitted by Cathy Briner

I lived on the Apache Reservation in San Carlos, Arizona for two years (1970-72). I was not a librarian at that time, however, I volunteered at the public library in the nearest town. It was there I learned of Arizona’s effective county library system. I tapped into that system and over a period of a few months secured a building from the tribe and installed a permanent collection through grants and county funding.  From San Carlos I went to Philadelphia where I attended Drexel University and received a M.L.S. 

I visited the San Carlos library in February 2020. It is in a larger space today and an integral part of the community, staffed by members of and funded by the tribe. 
Submitted by Nicola Maxwell

The following people have recently been recognized by our donors with a gift in their name to the EPLF. We are grateful for our donors’ thoughtful and generous support.

In Honor of  
Michael Nohrenberg
Ellen Todras
Friends of the Eugene Public Library


In Memory of
Dr. Maurice Holland
Katherine A. Clawson
Charles Stephens


Supporting the Library Levy

UPDATE August 10, 2020

On July 27, 2020, the Eugene City Council agreed to ask voters to renew a five-year Local Option Levy on the November 3, 2020 ballot. 

  • The levy will raise $2,850,000 per year to maintain extended library hours and additional services funded by the expiring 2015 levy.
  • The typical Eugene taxpayer will pay $37  per year over the five-year period of the levy, which is a lower rate than we pay now.

Learn more about supporting the levy at librariesforeveryonevoteyes.org

July 20, 2020

On Monday, July 27, 2020 at 5:30pm, Will O’Hearn, Library Services Director, will bring draft resolutions for the levy renewal for the November 2020 ballot to the Eugene City Council at their work session. During this meeting, the City Council will determine whether or not the levy renewal will go forward for the November ballot, and specifically,  the rate at which the levy will be renewed. It is critical to show community support for the Library levy’s option to maintain the existing rate of .17  leading up to this meeting.

We need your help to show our community’s support!

Please share your support of the levy proposal to maintain the existing rate to your individual City Council member by Monday, July 27th  at 5:00pm. We also encourage you to cc’ Mayor Vinis and City Manager Sarah Medary.

Here is a draft letter to show your support:

Dear Councilor Name,

As one of your constituents, I am writing to you to advocate for the Eugene Public Library levy renewal on the November 3, 2020 ballot. 

I strongly urge you to support the library levy renewal and urgently request that you continue the existing tax rate of 0.17, the maintain and recover option. This will help to ensure that our library continues to provide the current level of services that the Eugene community needs to get through the COVID19 pandemic and its aftereffects. 

The library can truly be an agent of recovery, since people will need to lean even harder upon the free resources and services the library provides in the journey back to some semblance of normal. The library is an integral part of our community’s recovery.

This funding of library services is critical to increase student success, community recovery, and access and inclusion. Please don’t let this valuable community treasure lose its existing funding.
Please support the levy renewal at the existing tax rate—it is one of the best values going for our Eugene community. 

Thank you, 

Your Name

NameWardEmail Address
Councilor Emily Semple, Vice President1esemple@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Betty Taylor, President2btaylor@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Alan Zelenka3azelenka@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Jennifer Yeh4jyeh@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Mike Clark5mclark@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Greg Evans6gevans@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Claire Syrett7csyrett@eugene-or.gov
Councilor Chris Pryor8cpryor@eugene-or.gov
Mayor Lucy Vinislvinis@eugene-or.gov
City Manager Sarah Medarysmedary@eugene-or.gov
Mayor and Councilorsmayorcouncilandcitymanager@eugene-or.gov

Dear Community (our letter in The Register-Guard)

A Foundation and Friends: Keeping You Connected to the Library

For most of us, the shelter-in-place requirements and social distancing orders have forced our lives to pivot rapidly. During the life-altering crisis that is the COVID-19 Pandemic, there continue to be hardships for nearly everyone in our community. The closure of schools, restaurants, businesses, parks, and many more venues has interrupted our daily routines. COVID-19 has dramatically highlighted many disparities in our lives as well. 

The quarantine has also greatly affected something of immeasurable civic value for everyone in Eugene – our public library.

And the closure of library buildings is so much more than just a temporary secession of people checking out books. The Eugene Public Library is a vibrant part of our downtown and Sheldon and Bethel neighborhoods, a gathering space for people and organizations alike, a vital free resource of digital and physical learning tools, and a sanctuary for all. With the buildings locked, thousands of our neighbors are cut off from services they relied on using every day of the week.

You might think everyone’s locked out and unserved, but they’re not. The Library has worked diligently to meet challenges our community faces by making online-use library cards available free of charge to all living in the Eugene area, even those outside city limits, following the Eugene Public Library’s temporary closure. Library staff have actively engaged with patrons remotely to issue new library cards, support use of the online features, recommend materials, and offer virtual programming, such as story times and book clubs, for children and teens. Still, there are services that COVID-19 made it impossible to provide, which only highlights the importance of restoring and supporting those services.

While the Library prepares to reopen gradually with safety as the highest priority, its staff has worked from their homes to keep the Library going. We are continually inspired by how our library and libraries across the world are exploring new models to serve their patrons and increase accessibility to their collections and services. Equitable information access is an American ideal, and COVID-19 has proven that the critical work of libraries goes far beyond being buildings that contain collections. 

As leaders from the two organizations that advocate and mobilize for our Library’s resources, we see the impact of the Library and its community of supporters every day. The Eugene Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Eugene Public Library are proud to work together to support each other and the Library during COVID-19.

We are also proud to see the value of our contributions through virtual programming, online resources, the Summer Reading program, and even sewing machines from the Maker Hub that have been used recently to produce over 800 masks for local distribution. 

When the phased reopening begins, the Foundation and the Friends will warmly welcome back the community. It will certainly not be business as usual for the library for a while. Yet we are committed to helping our Library thrive and innovate ways of reaching our community. The Eugene Public Library will provide an update to City Council in July, proposing the renewal of the Library’s five-year local option operating levy. As our community faces long-term effects from COVID-19, the levy will enable the Library to address resulting needs that have emerged. 

The levy will expand services for community recovery including workforce development, educational training, and other high quality, free services that will benefit community members of all ages. It will support children and youth by providing resources to reduce summer learning slides and gaps in digital learning, expand early childhood literacy, and increase 3rd grade reading levels, which are often indicators of future academic success. Additionally, the levy will provide our community with essential access to information. The Library serves many vulnerable populations, including unhoused community members, and access to free information and methods of connecting is more urgent now than ever. 

As we head toward that eagerly awaited day when Eugene’s Library opens its doors again, we ask you to be its advocates and champions alongside us. 

For more information about how you can help, visit the Eugene Public Library Foundation or the Friends of the Eugene Public Library. Together, these two nonprofits raise funds for our library. The Foundation seeks public and private donations, supporting library materials, programming, and its efforts to inspire lifelong learning and to enrich the entire community. The Foundation is a funder of the Public School Access Initiative, a pilot project to provide library cards to all public schools students in Eugene.

Hundreds of volunteers work year-round through the Friends to sell donated books at sales, a used bookstore and online. Money raised by the Friends supports programs for children and adults. With the primary annual fundraisers of both of our organizations having been canceled (including the Friends’ book sale), stay tuned for new ways to connect and raise much-needed funds for the Library. 

Reed Davaz McGowan
Executive Director
Eugene Public Library Foundation

Connie Regali
President of the Board of Directors
Friends of the Eugene Public Library

COVID-19 Updates

Library from Balcony

August 23, 2020 –

Please read the updated information from the Eugene Public Library on resuming some library services on August 23, 2020. We will continue to work offsite at this point to comply with physical distancing requirements. Gift processing may experience some delays due to limited access to the Library and we thank you for your patience as we navigate offsite operations. Please let us know if you have any questions or need to be in touch at (541) 338-7018 or info@eplfoundation.org and we will respond as soon a possible.

Thank you, Reed


April 20, 2020 –

We are incredibly proud of the Eugene Public Library and the City of Eugene for meeting the challenge that our community faces by making digital library cards available to all living in the Eugene area, even those outside City limits, throughout the duration of the Eugene Public Library’s closure. 

Today, the need to connect people to online and digital tools for learning has never been more crucial. The Library offers a truly vast amount ofeBook, Audiobook, Movie, and music resources digitally as well as a curated selection of subscription-based services through the Library’s Info Hub

This means increased access for children living outside of the incorporated City who attend public school in Eugene. With the ongoing closure of all schools throughout our community, we believe library access is even more vital. Digital access for these children and youth during the Eugene Public Library’s closure will provide them with supplemental learning and resources as they navigate this uncertain time. At a time when it feels as though normal life has halted, we must remember the active imaginations and curiosity of our children haven’t stopped, and never should.

  Read more about our work with the Eugene Public Library, 4J School District, and Bethel School District to ensure that when children start school this fall, those living outside of incorporated Eugene continue to have access equal to their peers.   

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We are grateful for the support you provide for the Eugene Public Library Foundation and the beacon of our community, the Eugene Public Library.

In community (from my living room), 
Reed Davaz McGowan
reed@eplfoundation.org
(541) 338-7018 

March 17, 2020 – Please read additional information about the Eugene Public Library temporary closure here. 

Due to the temporary closure of the Eugene Public Library, Foundation staff will be working off site, and like the rest of our community, observing social distancing. We are available via email at info@eplfoundation.org or:

Reed Davaz McGowan
Executive Director
reed@eplfoundation.org

Madison Wilson
Administrative Coordinator
madison@eplfoundation.org

We will check messages regularly for our voicemail at (541) 338-7018.

We are still available for questions concerning donations, Booked for the Evening, and general Foundation business. 

  • If you would like to donate to support vital library services, you can either mail a check to our address in the footer (Eugene Public Library Foundation, 100 W. 10th Avenue Suite #317, Eugene, OR 97401), or donate online.
  • Follow us @eplfoundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates, literary laughs, and more.
  • Sign up children 0 to five for the Imagination Library!

March 12, 2020 – This morning we learned Governor Brown has cancelled large gatherings for the next month, and while our April 4 “Booked for the Evening” event technically doesn’t fall under her definition of “large” we have decided to choose the more cautious path. The health of our community is our priority. 

As with all nonprofits that rely on events for revenue, we didn’t make this decision lightly. The bottom line is this: social distancing saves lives and slows the spread of the illness, enabling the health-care system to care for those who need it. 

Since we do not know how disruptive this pandemic will be, or how long it will last, we are considering how to best maintain support for our Library in this difficult time and determine our next steps and timeline moving forward.  

For those of you who have sponsored or purchased tables and tickets for our April 4th event, we are offering you the following options: (1) a full refund if requested by April 1, 2020, (2) a hold of your payment to be honored at a rescheduled event, or (3) the opportunity to make your purchase a tax deductible gift to support our efforts to bring library access to all school-age students in Bethel and 4J districts. Please let us know which of these you prefer.

In this time of uncertainty, our character as a community will shine. The Eugene Public Library Foundation is very grateful to you for your steadfast support. 

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about this announcement.

Reed Davaz McGowan, Executive Director
(541) 338-7018
reed@eplfoundation.org

Join the Library for the EUG Parade!

Calling all library lovers, volunteers, library staff, Friends of Eugene Public Library, and Eugene Public Library Foundation supporters!

Let’s bounce forward with the Library! Join our virtual library contingent in the 2020 EUG parade!

Following the exciting journey of books from check out to return, we will show the people behind the scenes and library lovers bouncing along the way with collaged photographs from our communities of supporters, volunteers, library lovers, and library staff “bouncing forward.”

Join us! We need your Pictures!

We need pictures with masks on to have this look like a real parade in 2020! Please try to have full heads/bodies as much as possible. Show off friends, pets, family, kiddos, and signs sharing your love of the Library. Don’t worry about the backgrounds – we will be removing them. Larger images/higher quality are preferred!

We can take your pictures too! If you want us to take your pictures come to the downtown Library on Wednesday, August 26th from 5-7 pm. Please wear a mask and observe physical distancing. We’ll be outside!

TO SUBMIT YOUR PICTURES, email to info@eplfoundation.org with subject: PARADE by Friday, August 28 @ 8pm.

Questions? Email info@eplfoundation.org or call (541) 338-7018.

About the EUG Parade

The 2020 EUG Parade/Pet Promenade is going virtual—all the fun and silliness of our beloved EUG Parade while keeping each other safe and healthy. This year’s theme is “Bounce Forward.” Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 20, when we’ll Parade in Place and you’ll be able to watch from home. For more info on the parade, please click here.

Summer Imagination Library Newsletter: July 2020

As teachers, we read to the students in our classroom every day. Sometimes it was a book of poems, sometimes it was a non-fiction book on a topic we were studying in class and other times it was a fiction book with amazing characters, an interesting plot or vivid language that captivated our students. We read because we knew the benefits it provided for the children in our class.

We read for the same reasons that you read to your children:

  • We read for the sheer joy of reading. The read aloud was one of our favorite times of the day.
  • We could build community with our class, relating a shared story to our learning and our lives.
  • We could demonstrate expressive reading; children need to hear it to do it.
  • We were showing kids how to read. We were modeling going back and rereading when something didn’t make sense.
  • We were offering different perspectives. Books introduce children to a variety of characters, people and places. They also offer a mirror for kids to read about someone who looks like them or is experiencing a similar situation or problem.
  • We read to “bless” a book. By reading aloud, we tell children that this book is worth reading.

We know that through the Imagination Library books your child receives that the times you read with your child have also become your favorite time of the day.

These tips are from Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook. He has a brochure entitled Ten Facts Parents Should Know About Reading that is available for free from the IL website.

Marlene & Shelley
Imagination Library of Eugene Advisory Board Co-Chairs
(Pictured above at their high school reunion in 2019.)

Over the last several months, parents have been juggling their already hectic lives with the new challenges faced during the shelter-in-place orders.  As the parent of a little one who just turned 4 this summer, I relate to this struggle to find a new normal in the balance of work, parenting, and being active in our community. Reading our Imagination Library books has given my son and me a time to pause and have a quiet moment where we are focused on each other and the story in front of us. As we turn the pages, I often think how I need this moment together just as much as he does. 

Having the books delivered directly to our mailbox each month has made life a little easier and a lot more joyful. Working to support the Imagination Library Advisory Board in raising funds for the program is incredibly meaningful as I think of how we help other families across our city access books where and when they need them the most. 

In community,


Reed Davaz McGowan
Executive Director, Eugene Public Library Foundation

If you attended the 2019 Imagination Library Luncheon, you may remember Brooke Mittermann and her two children, Cora and Otto, who attended as our Imagination Library family honored guests. While little Otto hid under her skirt, Brooke read an essay about the Imagination Library and its impact on her family. We followed up with Brooke for this issue’s family spotlight.

What would you like people to know about participating in the Imagination Library?
Just do it! It’s so positive. Even through the pandemic, Dollywood has been putting out these reading videos. She read Llama Llama Red Pajama in these fancy pajamas from her bed and it was so sweet. They also had these PDF activity sheets that I can just print out, put on a video, and have this great resource for my kids. I have been pretty much homeschooling while working from home and trying to come up with lesson plans and it’s been so nice having things like this that are almost a lesson plan themselves.

Excerpt from Brooke’s essayI’ve found, through the books we have received, that our participation in the Imagination Library has also fostered love, connection, kindness, and acceptance. The high quality, age-appropriate books that we receive through the Imagination Library have helped our family prepare for new experiences and learn new things, and better understand and work through our feelings. 

What do you think are the benefits of your family reading together? 
There’s so many. It’s intimate. You get to be close to your kids and share a story and experience. There’s so many things you can do with books. You can teach counting or how to think about emotions of characters. It feels like it’s an easier way to relate to a child than sitting across from them and asking them a direct question. You can really find out the same things in a better way by relating to a character in a book they’ve read.

How long have you participated in the Imagination Library? How did you find out about it?
Well, we started in the program about four years ago when my daughter, Cora, was about two, which was right about when my son, Otto, was born. I found out about it when a friend who had kids the same age sent me a text and told me it was an amazing program, so I signed up.

What do you enjoy most about the Imagination Library?
I’ve loved getting books in the mail and, often, they’re books that I wouldn’t have necessarily sought to purchase or pick out. The selection is maybe even more thoughtful than I could do on my own. It really feels like a community support in the way that it helps provide outside perspectives through the book selection. 

And of course, again those lessons and emotions in these books are so valuable. They’ve really helped when we’ve gone through difficult situations as a family – like divorce – we can go back to these really sweet thoughts and lessons from these books. They’re really helped us navigate some difficult times by having characters and stories to reference.

What did your kids like the most about the Imagination Library?
They love getting books in mail and seeing their own names on the books. The books themselves touch on such important things for kids their age, like feelings and emotions. We have our own little library at home and they tend to grab Imagination Library books more often in that collection than other books.

What would you do when the books would arrive each month? 
If the kids are with me, we get the mail together. If they’re with their dad, I would put the books out on the coffee table. I keep a really tidy house, so anything sitting out is a big deal, so they’ll usually come home and immediately notice the new books and be so excited to read them together.

How did you feel about the book selections? 
I do like the bilingual books, like Jake at Gymnastics. The kids really like it and it’s fun to try to get them to pronounce words that are not in English. They get a little Spanish at their daycare, so it’s nice for them to see words that they are already familiar with and get to practice at home.

Are there any books that really stood out to you?
Peace is an Offering is so sweet. My No, No, No Day is really great and has such a good message. All kids act out, and it teaches them that it’s okay to feel bad or have a bad day and they are still loved and tomorrow can be a better day. King Jack and the Dragons is a really sweet book about how kids get in their own world and parents are like the punctuation to them in a way. I really loved that book and all the fun words in it and the characters. It’s one of my kids’ favorites.

Anything else?
Dolly Parton is just amazing. I think it’s been a really great way to foster this love of reading in our home. We’re not exactly going to the library a lot in the middle of a pandemic, so it’s been nice that we’re still getting books that, some of them, are outside of what I would pick. I just really appreciate this program and what it’s done for my family. I tell so many people about this program and how great it is. It’s been so great for my babes.

Save the date for our sixth-annual Imagination Library fundraiser Thursday, September 24th.  Celebrate this wonderful program that has brought more than 200,000 books to children in the Eugene community with us! 

For the past 6 years, supporters of the Imagination Library of Eugene have gathered to share lunch and the joy of children’s literacy. This fall, we are planning a “reimagined,” virtual Imagination Library fundraiser. While won’t be able to share a meal and celebrate together in person, the purpose will be the same: to support a vital program that engages families through early literacy. Each year, the event raises nearly half the cost of bringing the Imagination Library to Eugene. The need is even greater than ever, and we need our community to join us. 

We are pleased to announce our speakers who will showcase the inspirational world of children’s literacy. 

Our host, Bob Welch, is a household name in Eugene. Bob is a local speaker, author, award-winning columnist and writing teacher who has served as an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene and has written more than 20 books. With two children and 5 grandchildren, children’s literacy has been important in his life. 

Featured speaker, Andre Royal, recently published his first children’s book, The Hippo-Critic, and its follow up Little Big Bear. which were illustrated by his son, Andre Royal Junior. The books center on experiences from Andre’s life and are presented in a format that is a hybrid comic  and coloring book. 

We are so excited to have these two local authors join us in supporting the Imagination Library of Eugene!

We recently caught up with Sharon Posner, longtime Imagination Library of Eugene supporter and Advisory Board member.



Sharon, you were there at the beginning. Can you tell us how the Imagination Library came to Eugene?
Eugene’s Imagination Library will be six years old in September. Back in 2014, when it began, I was the president of the Eugene Public Library Foundation. Doug Barber, a member of the Foundation Board, had watched a segment about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library on 60 Minutes. He came to the Board and proposed that it sponsor the Imagination Library in Eugene. 

It took a while as the Board considered it. It would be a major responsibility and commitment. There was a concern about the Foundation’s primary commitment to the Library itself. The Library Services Director at the time, Connie Bennett, had to buy into the idea too. The Library would have to commit staff time to administer the enlistment of participants and the sending out of the books every month. Connie was enthusiastic and agreed to help

How do you see the Imagination Library progressing now in Eugene?
When the need has arisen, people have come to provide leadership. It is clear to many how valuable this program is.

The Eugene program has been inspirational to constituencies in other parts of Lane County as well. Springfield now has its own program, as does Lowell. And United Way sponsors the Imagination Library to rural residents of Lane County. Recently, there has been outreach and communication among all the groups in Lane County.

How has the Imagination Library fulfilled its potential in Eugene?
It’s really rewarding when you read, or hear, what families have to say about the impact the program has had on people’s lives. And watching the growth of the program over the past 6 years has helped me to appreciate donors who become sustaining (monthly) donors. That is so important for our program!

With recent protests and renewed public outcry for civil rights and equal justice, whether in the form of revising or reimagining our social institutions, children are bound to pick up on the general atmosphere of change and to have questions.  Parents can reassure and encourage young ones by reading books to them with content and illustrations that include people and children of all races and backgrounds. 

The most effective way to fight racism is to start early and for parents to model learning about other people as a life-long quest. Books foster respect and empathy.  The Eugene Public Library has put together a list of recommendations for children’s Black Lives Matter books for those wanting to read more. 

The Imagination Library has also partnered with American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. to make many of the books, available in braille and audio to increase accessibility. Visit APH.org and learn more about how to download these free children’s audio books online and obtain free in braille.

Imagination Library Photo Challenge – It’s time for our fourth-annual Imagination Library photo challenge! To enter, simply fill out this form by submitting contact information, photos of your reader, and a short paragraph on what the Imagination Library has meant to you and we will be in touch with any next steps. The lucky winner will receive a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader and be welcomed as an honored guest at the Imagination Library virtual event on September 24. Know someone who participated in the Imagination Library of Eugene? Forward this newsletter to them!

Trivia Night Round 2 -Join our virtual trivia night on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 6pm – Now shorter and with easier technology! Share your wide-ranging knowledge and raise funds for the Eugene Public Library while competing for prizes (and bragging rights). Join as a team of 4-6 people, or as an individual to be matched to a team. Invite your friends, sign up, and have fun! The event will also have a live feed for people to watch, cheer, and support the Foundation. Get your tickets here! 

Monthly Event Series: In Conversation
Join the Foundation and a variety of guest speakers for lunch break conversations on the second Friday of each month from 12-1pm. We’ll gather virtually to discuss a variety of topics of local interest that are connected to the ever delightful quest for knowledge.

The first monthly event in the series will be on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12pm. Feel free to join early to get to meet other participants. More details to be announced soon! 

The Library That Dolly Built – Week of Sept. 21 – “The Library That Dolly Built” is a feature-length documentary focusing on the creation of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The film is currently set to premiere in fall 2020, celebrating Dolly’s journey and the partnerships she made along the way to build the Imagination Library.

The Imagination Library Celebration – Sept. 24 – Save the date for our sixth-annual Imagination Library fundraiser on the last Thursday of September. Celebrate this wonderful program that has brought more than 220,000 books to children in the Eugene community with us! 

Buy tickets here!

Sign up for the Imagination Library today and receive a free book delivered to your home until your reader turns five. The first book arrives in 6-8 weeks and then after, enjoy monthly books delivered to your home. For more information on the Imagination Library of Eugene, please visit our website.

On Monday, July 27, 2020 at 5:30pm, Will O’Hearn, Library Services Director, will bring draft resolutions for the levy renewal for the November 2020 ballot to the Eugene City Council at their work session. During this meeting, the City Council will determine whether or not the levy renewal will go forward for the November ballot.

It is critical to show community support for the Library levy’s option to maintain the existing rate leading up to this meeting so that the Library can focus on maintaining services and supporting our community long term recovery from COVID-19. Please click here to read more about how you can contact City Council and support the Eugene Public Library.

Follow us on social media for Foundation and Library news, literary laughs, and more. 

The Imagination Library of Eugene is a partnership between the Eugene Public Library and the Eugene Public Library Foundation. Books are curated and shipped by the Dollywood Foundation. Founded by Dolly Parton and funded by donors like you through gifts to the Eugene Public Library Foundation, this program has a profound impact on early childhood literacy locally.

June 2020: Important Announcements from the Foundation

This year, the Eugene Public Library reached out far beyond the boundaries of its walls. Due to COVID-19, the Library reimagined how it serves our community and opened its virtual doors as wide as possible. The Foundation is honored to be a philanthropic partner of the Library and provide a pathway for our donors to directly enhance library services in Eugene during this turbulent time.  

Because of the generosity of our donors, business partners, and foundations, we proudly presented an “IOU” for $288,700 to Library Services Director Will O’Hearn at our online Board meeting on Monday, June 8th. Don’t worry, we’ll hand off a real check this month too! This, in addition to $86,974  gifted to the Library earlier this year and $105,000 for Imagination Library costs, brings our total giving to literacy in Eugene to an incredible $480,674 for our 2019-2020 fiscal year. This financial support will have a profound impact on our entire community. 

Shortly after I joined the Foundation as the Executive Director in January, we faced the cancellation of our largest annual fundraiser and the temporary closure of the Library due to COVID-19. Despite this, we were still able to support the launch of our Public School Access Initiative to bring library cards to all public school students in Eugene and maintain the tremendous level of giving of previous years. 

I am inspired at the level of support our community of donors has continued to show throughout the challenges of the past several months. This demonstrates an extraordinary understanding of the importance of the Library to our community, making our gift this year even more meaningful. 

In community,

Reed Davaz McGowan, Executive Director

Black lives matter. We acknowledge that many in our community experience pervasive, structural racism every day, and for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members living in Eugene, this fight is neither new nor fleeting. As we support the Eugene Public Library, our donors and philanthropy greatly impact our community. We are committed to listening and learning how we can actively promote anti-racist practices in our efforts to support the Library’s work as a conduit for learning and information, amplifying underrepresented voices and serving as a welcoming public institution for all.

For those seeking additional information, please click here for resources and curated reading lists.

Library staff have been working behind the scenes since the Library’s temporary closure to greatly expand usage of online resources. Since the closure, Library staff have fielded 3,400 patron calls, issued 700 new library cards, and seen a 70% rise in the use of online resources. The Library extended free online access to all living in the broader Eugene community to ensure wide access to information and materials as well. 

But, of course, there is something about checking out physical materials from the Library that just can’t be replaced – whether that’s the feeling of turning the pages of a book or putting on a DVD of a film you’ve been eagerly waiting to watch.

Starting this week following public health guidance, Downtown Library book returns opened during limited hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 7am-5pm.  At this point, book returns are only open at the Downtown branch, though you can return material from any branch there.

Beginning on Wednesday, patrons can schedule hold pickups at all three branches, including Bethel and Sheldon.  

The hold pick-ups are not limited to books but apply to anything and everything that can be put on hold at the Library, including DVDs & Blu-Ray, video games, audio books, music CDs, and more!

Cardholders are not limited to holds made before the Library’s closure, but can add to their list of requests. Library staff will be filling the existing 5000+ holds first, so patron patience is appreciated as they get to newer holds. Have some books on hold you know you won’t get to right away? Patrons can choose to “suspend” holds – but don’t worry – a suspended request continues to climb up the waitlist, and Library staff wait to put it aside for you until you choose to “reactivate” that title.

Anyone living in the Eugene area is welcome to a free online-use library card at this time – all you have to do is give the Library a call at 541-682-5450.

Want to receive foundation new in your inbox? If so, you can subscribe here!

Follow us on social media for Foundation and Library news, literary laughs, and more. 

April 2020: Between the Shelves Special Edition

Our last newsletter came out a mere 6 weeks ago. What a difference 6 weeks makes! At the end of February, we were busily planning for Booked for the Evening, our annual fundraiser, set for April 4. We were so excited about sharing this event with our donors. Like so many other fundraisers, sporting events, concerts, and more, Booked was cancelled just a few weeks before it was scheduled.

I am reminded of the opening words of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” The worst of times needs no explanation as COVID-19 sweeps through our country and community, destroying lives, careers, and businesses, and disrupting educations.

How could it be the best of times, then? I think of New Yorkers and people in many other cities, coming out to their balconies every evening, cheering and clapping for the healthcare workers in their communities. I think of our great state, Oregon, lending New York State 140 ventilators at a time of dire need. And in Eugene, among many other examples of hope, I think of our public library, opening digital access to ALL Eugeneans while (physical) schools are closed through the end of the year and the public library doors are closed as well.

In these positive acts, the human spirit reveals itself as an expression of goodness and an inspiration to all. In this time of darkness and suffering, I still look to my local library as a source of comfort, compassion, and as always, learning.

Please enjoy this special edition of the Eugene Public Library newsletter. Read about donors Eleanor and Tony Mulder, and Eleanor’s commitment to our community. Find out how libraries around the world are creatively keeping themselves relevant in the time of COVID-19 in ways reminiscent of the past. What are Foundation Board members reading?

What are you reading? We’d like to know – what book or library resource has kept you company during this unprecedented time? Let us know at info@eplfoundation.org 

We at the Foundation are grateful to the library for all it does for our community. We are equally grateful to you, our donors, for helping us to help the library accomplish its mission.

Wishing all of you good health,
Ellen Todras 
President

As we’ve moved Foundation operations and meetings to our laptops and homes, we have remained connected to and appreciative of the active community surrounding the Eugene Public Library. With the shelter-in-place order, the Library has opened its virtual doors to the entire Eugene area and made digital library cards free for all during the Library’s temporary closure. This vision for broader inclusion and access to knowledge during a crisis is one of the ways our Library stands out as a leader and beacon in our community. 

Since joining the Foundation three months ago, I have continually been impressed by the dedication and compassion of our supporters. Over the last four weeks, I have seen our community value connections and resilience in the face of what previously would have been an unimaginable new way of life. As advocates and patrons of the Library, I am proud to stand with you (well, virtually, and by practicing safe social distancing). 

We have been working closely with the Library on our Public School Access Initiative and remain committed to raising funds for all public school children in Eugene to access the Library. This is a priority for the Foundation despite our annual fundraiser, Booked for the Evening, being cancelled. We believe that Library access in the fall for youth will be even more critical with a longer, more dramatic learning gap over the summer. To read more and support this initiative, please click here

I want you to know that the Foundation is here for our donors, patrons, and the Library in this uncertain time, and appreciate all of the support and inspiration you continue to provide. 

Outside of remote work, I’m enjoying my stack of Lucky Day books, the Imagination Library books being delivered monthly to my little one, and looking up digital resources on DIY renovation and gardening for my new home. 

In community, 
Reed Davaz McGowan
Executive Director


National Library Week is April 19 to 25th! What better way to celebrate National Library Week than with the Eugene Public Library?! Our Library is truly the heart of our community. Follow the Foundation and Library for special content and to show your love of the Library throughout the week. This year, the theme is Find the library at your place.  


Tuesday, April 21st is National Library Workers Day.  We encourage people to take to social media to share your appreciation for the Eugene Public Library workers on Tuesday tagging the Foundation and Library and using #NationalLibraryWorkersDay.We want to show our gratitude for all of those that keep our Library going day in and day out, both virtually and in-person.  We love our Library and all the people who make it the best!

What’s your Eugene Public Library story? Submit in the comments of our posts, through your own posts with tags so we can find and share them, or email us at info@eplfoundation.org.

Trivia Night -Join our virtual trivia night on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 7pm! Share your wide-ranging knowledge and raise funds for the Public School Access Initiative, while competing for prizes (and bragging rights). Join as a team of 4-6 people, or as an individual to be matched to a team. Invite your friends, sign up, and have fun! The event will also have a live feed for people to watch, cheer, and support the Foundation. Register here!

Public School Access Initiative Video Premiere – June 5, 6:30 p.m. – Right now, our aim to connect every public school child to knowledge and information is even more critical. Join us virtually as we share perspectives from key community members on our Public School Access Initiative. Details to be announced soon.

The Library that Dolly Built – Week of Sept. 21 – “The Library That Dolly Built” will premiere in fall 2020, celebrating Dolly’s journey and the partnerships she made along the way to build the Imagination Library.

The Imagination Library Luncheon – Sept. 24, 11:45 a.m. – The sixth-annual Imagination Library Luncheon will take place the last Thursday of September. Join us in celebrating this wonderful program that has brought more than 200,000 books to children in the Eugene community. Details and plan for event under social distancing requirements to be announced soon. 

Friends Book Sale – We wanted to share a link to the note from the Friends regarding the cancellation of their annual book sale benefitting the Library. They put it best by sharing their appreciation of the role of our Library in our community, and the many volunteers, donors, and Friends who contribute each year. 

Giving That Inspires introduces you to a Eugene Public Library Foundation supporter. This month’s profile features Eleanor & Tony Mulder.

Tony Mulder, and his late wife, Eleanor Mulder, have been great believers in the value of knowledge and lifelong supporters of the arts and sciences. Upon moving to Eugene in 1969, the Mulders immediately became library patrons at both the Eugene Public Library and University of Oregon library system. Their home had a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which allowed their children to develop their inquisitive natures. Even with that resource in the house, however, the Mulders were avid library-goers.

Before Eleanor passed away in 2018, she had always been very active in civic and political matters in Eugene. After their children grew up, she got her Masters degree from the University of Oregon and worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. She served on a number of committees and commissions, including the Budget Committee and the Planning Commission. Governor Kitzhaber appointed her to the Boundary Commission, and she was deeply involved with the League of Women Voters. She donated blood more than 500 times in Lane County!

Tony and Eleanor recently made a legacy gift to the Foundation, in appreciation of which there is a commemorative plaque at the reference library area. As per Tony’s request, Eleanor’s name is first as an exemplary citizen of Eugene for almost 50 years.

LaVena Nohrenberg is a Customer Experience Manager at the Eugene Public Library. She wears many hats in this role, but you may see her enthusiastically greeting patrons on their way in and out of the library. Moving to Eugene in 2007, she loves being a part of the arts and culture scene in the community.

Are you a native Eugenean? If not, what brought you here?
I was raised in Southern Arizona and moved to Oregon in the early 90s. I went to college outside of Portland at Pacific University and fell in love with what Portland had to offer. I loved the access to natural resources and the cultural opportunities, like live music and theater. As a young adult I wanted to be intentional and thoughtful about where I lived my life, and I made Portland home. In 2007, my husband and I relocated to Eugene to be closer to his family.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Eugene?
In Eugene, I still have easy access to beautiful, natural settings, like the rivers and the parks. I also still have access to arts and culture; the live music, theater, and museums. It’s also nice to be close to family members.

What kind of relationship did you have with the library throughout your childhood and adolescence?
The library has been interwoven throughout my entire life. In my hometown we didn’t have a public library at one point, so my mother started Friends of the Library locally so we could have a public library in Sierra Vista, AZ. She’s still on the library board there. As a kid, I spent multiple days a week in the library. As an adult, the first thing I do when I move somewhere is go to the library and get a library card. I’m a big reader, movie watcher, and music listener, and I get all of my resources from the library.

When did you start working at the library? What is your role?
I started working at the Eugene Public Library in 2009 as a Customer Experience Manager. I’m the only one who has had this role, because it was created in 2009. When the position was announced, I was the chair of the Friends of the Library board. The role sounded like the perfect blend of my professional skills. I had a background in public relations and managing volunteers for nonprofits. My role at the library is a big connection point between the library and its patrons. I have the pleasure of managing a number of aspects that relate to the experience we as a library are offering to our patrons. I get to manage the feedback from patrons everyday, whether it involves areas of improvement or praise for the library. I actually enjoy hearing what issues arise between the library and patrons because it allows me to explain to them how we do what we do, and why. Sometimes they bring up good ways to improve, and sometimes I get to help patrons better understand how the library operates.

Aside from that, I also manage statistics for the library so that we can better tell a story about what we do. It doesn’t sound glamorous, but it’s important for the stories we tell about the patrons we serve. My role also manages the facilities and custodial crew so that we can operate to the best of our ability, as well as managing the rules and patron code of conduct. The patron code of conduct is designed to explain what rules are needed in order to keep our patrons and staff safe, and allows us to serve the Eugene community.

I also manage the volunteer programming for the library. We have a few hundred people as partners, in addition to the Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library. All of that community support is vital for us to be able to provide the level of service that our community appreciates and needs. We have a wonderful volunteer coordinator on staff and I get to support her and her roles.

All of my duties apply to all three locations.

What is your favorite part of working at the library?
The libraries have always represented for me a place where everyone in a community can come together and have equal access to resources. It’s the equal access to education, information, entertainment, and inspiration with no barriers. The library serves a diverse population in our community, and it allows us to collect so many different perspectives and talent of people. It’s really cool to work in the middle of that.

What is your favorite memory of working at the library?
I am blessed all day every day with interacting with other staff members, and I get jazzed about their dedication to our mission. I get to have regular interactions with our patrons saying hello and telling them to have a good day. It’s hard to pick just one memory, because there is so much good and hope in the world within the person to person interactions I get to have every day at the library. I’m feeling even more grateful for those interactions now that I’m not able to be at the library, because I’m working from home.

How have your days changed since the library closed due to COVID-19?
I can tell you the library is still here and serving people, phones are still being answered by staff, patrons are being helped with finding things in the library catalog, and people are still able to get help with library cards and internet resources. We’re trying our best to continue providing as many resources as possible to our patrons.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I like interesting family stories, because family is important to me. It was an interesting perspective about if we could see into the future and use the information we could see, would we want to or not? It was interesting.

In the midst of our state’s stay-at-home order, Imagination Library books are still being delivered directly to mailboxes across Eugene (and the world). Their arrival couldn’t be more timely as caretakers are looking for age appropriate activities, distractions, and a few calm moments. This month’s books include: Tale of Peter Rabbit, Eat Pete, The Night is Yours, The Rabbit Listened, Just Like My Brother, Corduroy’s Shapes, and Baby! Talk!. 

Dolly Parton, who founded the Imagination Library in 1995, has also used this time to create “Goodnight with Dolly.” She reaches children in their homes by reading books from the Imagination Library collection via live video streaming from her bed on Youtube every Thursday at 4pm for the next 7 weeks. It’s cute, quirky, and fun to see Dolly connect with children. 

Imagination Library is still enrolling and engaging children from birth to their 5th birthday. The first book delivery takes 6-8 weeks to arrive, followed by books arriving monthly. The Eugene Public Library processes enrollment and the Foundation is proud to raise 100% of the funding for this program. It is always free for participants!

The Seed Library is one of the many ways Eugene Public Library supports sharing resources by providing an opportunity for gardeners of all levels to donate and collect seeds. Mindie Marsh, the Library’s lead staff member working on the Seed Library, developed the idea with her team while acting in capacity in Adult Services. Seeking an innovative way to create exchange within the community, Mindie looked to her previous knowledge of a seed library in Tucson and began to think of what it might look like in Eugene. She researched potential models through visiting different libraries and understanding how each community made the concept its own. 

The Seed Library uses a “take one, leave one” honor system due to the expense of the Eugene Public Library’s method of using security tags for check out. Other seed libraries, such as the libraries in Clackamas, use a barcode system that allows for less expensive scanning and cataloguing. As a result, the Library is still developing methods for tracking usage. Having the honor system in use makes the Seed Library a resource for those who do not have library cards in addition to library card holders of all ages. 

Eugene, as a true gardening community, has embraced the Seed Library. Housed in a vintage card catalogue cabinet at the Downtown Library with modest tabletop stations at both Sheldon and Bethel branches, the Seed Library has been active since its launch in January 2020. Around 300 people attended the inaugural planting event, and seed donations have arrived at all branches through community donations and donations from Adaptive Seeds in Sweet Home, Down To Earth Garden Center in Eugene, Jerry’s Home Improvement Center in Eugene, and Territorial Seed Company in Cottage Grove. 

Mindie considers the community that is being built by the Seed Library’s participants as a fundamental benefit to the project. She shared, “People who don’t have a lot of money, but have gardened for a long time have a new way to contribute to the community.” There is freedom to experiment because access to new seeds is free. With the Library having resources for gardening and landscaping, there are natural connections to books for all ages and gardening levels.  

Over time, there is hope to expand the Seed Library through increasing educational programming, exchanges between branches, and taking advantage of the natural gardening season transitions throughout the year. Participants will be able to share photos documenting seeds sprouting and growing, and share recipes after produce is harvested. Through leaving notes, instructions, and personal experiences with specific seeds at each location, participants will be able to share their recommendations and give encouragement to further connect with each other, too. 

Mindie anticipates the Seed Library growing its collection as people learn more about the project and begin to save their seeds to share each year. As well, partners such as Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Division and others in the gardening and landscaping realm are able to contribute native plants and in-demand seeds such as watermelon. Eventually, Mindie would also like to establish a demonstration garden as a resource for the Library’s community. 

With the planting season underway now, we encourage you to share pictures of seeds that are growing in your gardens from the Seed Library and plan ahead to save seeds to contribute to the exchange upon the reopening of the Library. 

The Seed Library Website 

Information on Saving Seeds 

Instructions for Checking Out & Donating Seeds* Please note that the Library is not accepting seed donations or check out during the temporary closure. 

Modern libraries, including Eugene Public Library, have risen to the challenges posed by COVID-19 by opening their digital catalogues and bringing vast educational and entertainment resources into our homes. During the 1930s, various public works projects sought to achieve a similar goal by physically bringing books to rural Americans.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, the work relief program that employed millions throughout the country during the 1930s, had camp libraries at worksites. These libraries held approximately 50 books each, on subjects ranging from mysteries to natural science. Academic and vocational resources were popular, as were the adventure stories of Zane Grey. Similarly, Mary Utopia Rothrock, Coordinator of Libraries under the Tennessee Valley Authority, devised a plan to include “toolbox libraries” near where workers received their daily tools. Workers could check out both nonfiction and fiction, as well as children’s books to bring home to their families.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) also included initiatives to increase access to books in rural Appalachia and other areas. In the 1930s access to public libraries for rural Americans was dismal compared to those living in cities. The WPA sponsored bookmobiles, tiny log cabin libraries, and libraries in general stores and other public spaces. Perhaps most unique, under the Pack Horse Library initiative, librarians, most of whom were women, rode out on horses and mules at least twice monthly to bring books to rural areas throughout Appalachia. As the program gained prominence, book donations came in from all over the country. Soon, the available titles included not only books, but recipes, sewing patterns, and more. By 1937, the initiative served 50,000 families and 155 public schools. Although the program ended in 1943 along with the WPA, the benefit of access to books and knowledge is everlasting, both in Appalachia and today.

Special thanks to Sharon Reed for sharing her pictures of the Alexandria Library in Egypt. If you would like to share library pictures from your travels, please email info@eplfoundation.org.

The doors are closed! The book return turned off! For me there may be no more tangible symbol of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic than the library’s closure.  

Library staff is working hard behind the scenes,preparing the building for when thelibrary reopens, and making online library resources more available and accessible. Here’s a sampling of what’s happening online at the library: 

… and that just skims the surface. It’s all free with your library card.

And of course, Library staff are available by phone, 541-682-5450 or email, to chat or answer your questions. 

We’ll all be learning a lot in the coming weeks about ourselves, about each other, our community and our country. May the Library be your guide!
Julie Whitmore, EPLF Board Member

In news that will likely surprise no one, your Eugene Public Library Foundation board and staff members are book people. Here is a snapshot of the book some of us are into right now.

Ellen Todras – I am reading a compilation of New Yorker articles called The 40s: The Story of a Decade. It includes some of the great writers of the 20th century describing some of the most dramatic events and people. For example, in one essay Lillian Ross sardonically describes movie moguls’ and actors’ capitulation to the Red Scare in the late 1940s. I got the book on sale at J. Michaels Books, and right now they will deliver to your house!

Renee Buchanan – I am reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. With no appetite for my typical diet of news, commentary, and economics podcasts, I’ve been able to listen to audiobooks through the Eugene Public Library. Hooray for Hoopla! Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore follows Clay, a laid-off silicon valley web designer who finally finds a job as the night shift clerk at a peculiar bookstore. The selection of books for sale is small and very limited. However, there is a large number of old, dusty books that eccentric “members” check out. Clay is instructed to note every detail of each “member” from their demeanor to the buttons on their jackets. One day, Clay gets curious, and finds himself sucked into a world of intrigue, codes, and secret societies. He enlists the help of his techno-friends to find the solution to a 500-year-old mystery.

Sally Claycomb – I am re-reading I am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley. It is the fourth in a murder mystery series about an 11-year-old in 1950s England who is very into chemistry and murder. I love re-reading books, but I allow myself to re-read murder mysteries only when I cannot remember who the killer was anymore.

Sarah Coates – I actually picked the same book as Renee (Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore), but in the interest of being interesting I’ll share another that I’m reading. It’s called The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death by Daniel Pinkwater. Mainly the book is directed at the under-ten set, but I think it can be fun to see how the younger folks read. The storyline is more or less about what the youth get up to after hours in 1960s Chicago.

Reed Davaz MacGowan – I am ready to dive into Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. It’s sitting on my new mantle waiting for me. Without knowing that the library was closing, I was also fortunate enough to also grab three “Lucky Day” books to look forward to reading and a stack of excellent children’s books to keep my little one occupied. My favorite of those is Nobody Likes a Goblin

Michael Dunne – I’m reading What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr. In this thriller, Rose finds herself in a nursing home, told that she has Alzheimer’s, but she doesn’t believe it. When she stages her escape she faces a new conundrum: how to convince anyone she does not have dementia?

Matt Keating – I’m in a Philip K. Dick mode. I re-read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and then recently dove into A Scanner Darkly.

Ashleigh Maier – I recently finished reading Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I was initially hesitant about it because it’s written in the style of an interview, but the story was so compelling. It’s a story of a rock-and-roll band who formed in the 1970s, and is loosely based on the history of Fleetwood Mac. While it seems like a story about music, it’s much more about complicated relationships with others, oneself, and substance abuse. I highly recommend it. It’s the best book I’ve read in at least two years.

Hans McKnight – I’m currently reading Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. I’m still in the first half of the book, but I was hooked after chapter one! Summer of Night is the first in a series of horror novels. In it, five young people find horrifying things happening at the old Central School. The detail of the old school house painted such a creepy picture that every time I read about it in the book, I instantly feel like I’m there.

Will O’Hearn – I am reading How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy By Mehrsa Baradaran, which is about inequalities in the banking and credit systems of the US between low and high income citizens. I’m also reading Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association by Terry Pluto. This book focuses on the now-defunct American Basketball Association, and how it influences the basketball we play today. You might remember the ABA best by the red, white, and blue balls they played with.  

Jane Olbekson – I am re-reading John McPhee’s Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process. I really loved this book the first time I read it. I’m also reading Selected Poems by Derek Walcott. What a genius! However, I’m not a literary snob, so who knows what I might read next? 

Lisa Rubenstein Calevi – Reading Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. I picked it up mostly because I liked the cover but I’m finding Irby’s commentary equally delightful.

Sarah StoecklThe Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. This is the third and final volume in Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy, focused on Thomas Cromwell, his rise and fall within the court of Henry VIII. This novel, like its predecessors, combines historical escapism with contemporary symbolism. Plus it’s full of sassy, witty banter and political intrigue! I’m also occasionally dipping into poems by Adrienne Rich, Ranier Maria Rilke, and Mary Oliver.

Julia Whitmore – I have been listening to The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. This is a novel about Korean Haenyeo, female free divers who harvest from the ocean and are breadwinners for their families. The story spans the 1940s to 2008, and is a tale about fortitude and friendship. I checked this book out from the library using the e-audiobook app OverDrive. 

I have also been reading The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us by Richard Prum. This book unpacks a raging debate among evolutionary biologists. On the one side are traditionalists, who see evolution solely as adaptation by natural selection, a.k.a. survival of the fittest. On the other side are scientists like Prum, an ornithologist. Prum believes (and Darwin himself believed) that mate-choosing for aesthetic reasons, particularly by females, is an independent driver of evolution. Not only do the strongest survive, but so do those deemed the prettiest by prospective mates. Warning: the chapter on duck reproduction is X-rated, and brutal! Duck males cause a lot of trouble. 

Madison Wilson – I am currently reading Bright We Burn by Kiersten White, which is the last book in the “And I Darken” trilogy. It’s a story of survival set during an alternate history in the rise of the Ottoman Empire. I’m nearly finished with it and have greatly enjoyed each book in the series. The detail in these books is amazing and the characters are very well-written. The female protagonist is a force to be reckoned with and full of depth. I have enjoyed every minute of these books!

Happy reading!

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The following people have recently been recognized by our donors with a gift in their name to the EPLF. We are grateful for our donors’ thoughtful and generous support.

In Honor of  
Erich Mohr
Elaine Mohr
Daniel Aaron Krow

In Memory of  
Charles Stephens
Matt Mohr

Meredith Vayle Burch
Laura Amarys

David J. O’Neill

Staying connected with our community

Dear Eugene Public Library Foundation community, 

For many of us, the shelter-in-place requirements and social distancing orders have forced our lives to come to an almost complete stop.

We are incredibly proud of the Eugene Public Library and the City of Eugene for meeting the challenge that our community faces by making digital library cards available to all living in the Eugene area, even those outside City limits, throughout the duration of the Eugene Public Library’s closure. 

Today, the need to connect people to online and digital tools for learning has never been more crucial. The Library offers a truly vast amount ofeBook, Audiobook, Movie, and music resources digitally as well as a curated selection of subscription-based services through the Library’s Info Hub

This means increased access for children living outside of the incorporated City who attend public school in Eugene. With the ongoing closure of all schools throughout our community, we believe library access is even more vital. Digital access for these children and youth during the Eugene Public Library’s closure will provide them with supplemental learning and resources as they navigate this uncertain time. At a time when it feels as though normal life has halted, we must remember the active imaginations and curiosity of our children haven’t stopped, and never should.

  Read more about our work with the Eugene Public Library, 4J School District, and Bethel School District to ensure that when children start school this fall, those living outside of incorporated Eugene continue to have access equal to their peers.   

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We are grateful for the support you provide for the Eugene Public Library Foundation and the beacon of our community, the Eugene Public Library.

In community (from my living room), 
Reed Davaz McGowan
reed@eplfoundation.org
(541) 338-7018 

Film Screening: The Library That Dolly Built (4/2)

This event has been postponed. Around the country on April 2, audiences will get the chance to see Dolly Parton’s new film, “The Library That Dolly Built.” This feature-length documentary covers the history, impact and future of America’s largest non-governmental children’s literacy program, Imagination Library, which builds children’s home libraries. Check United Way’s Facebook page next week to see which theaters will be showing the film.