Leaburg Library

Leaburg Library Website

Photo of Leaburg LibraryA BRIEF HISTORY


The Leaburg Library was established in the spring of 1984 and has been providing continuous library service for local residents since then.  There had been several attempts to have a library in the old schoolhouse building but none was successful until Ruth Mills and Rita Stadel took over the project in the fall of 1983.  It began as an all-volunteer, free library, stocked with donated books on donated bookshelves, with basic maintenance work provided by members of the community.   Our status has not changed over the years.  We charge no fees of any kind, and have very little income. The McKenzie Rural Fire District owns the building and allows free use, and the McKenzie River Lions Club pays for monthly utilities. Both help us with repairs and maintenance when needed.  What income we do have comes from the sale of duplicate books and the three-volume sets of Historic Leaburg booklets.  These booklets have been compiled and published by the volunteers for twenty-four years.
In the beginning, there were eight volunteers.  Today there are twenty-three, including the Director, a Children’s Librarian, and a six-member Library Board.  Communication with volunteers is accomplished through monthly schedules and newsletters.  We offer children's programming year round, and a special six-week Summer Reading Program for children of all ages and their families.  We are open Monday – Thursday from 1:30 – 4:30 pm, and on Saturday from 10 am – 1 pm, serving residents from Cedar Flat to Blue River.
Over the years, the library has expanded from one to three rooms, and has approximately 16,000 volumes.  Although nearly all of the books have been donated, the collection is amazingly well-rounded with something for every taste.  We have a computer, printer and internet access, all provided through the generosity of some of our supporters.
The building has been home to various groups and organizations which have used the Annex and the downstairs rooms for their activities.  The Walterville Preschool operated there for many years, and groups such as AA and Garden Club met there.  Currently, the McKenzie Fire and Rescue conducts training sessions on the lower level.
As the 1923 vintage building ages, maintenance issues become increasingly troublesome and costly.  Since we have no regular income, we must rely on occasional fundraisers and/or donated time and materials to take care of necessary repairs.  In 1994, library volunteers and members of the McKenzie River Lions Club coordinated an appeal for funds to paint the exterior of the building.  They collaborated again in 1999 for a new roof.  Last year (2009), another fundraising appeal netted enough money to repaint the exterior of the building and to temporarily repair some breakdowns in the plumbing.  In the fall of 2010, the McKenzie Rural Fire District paid for the installation of a new roof which has eliminated the leaks that threatened the wonderful collection in the history section of the main room.  We are very grateful to the local residents and to our benefactors for their generous response to these efforts.  Hopefully with such determined cooperation, the library will continue to serve the wonderful folks who live in the valley of the beautiful McKenzie.
Marty Mealey, Director
January 2011



New arrivals



Shelf Notes 1/5/12


Book Shelf imageWith every brand new year come the mandatory “Resolutions” lists which most of us abandon after a few weeks of half-hearted effort!   Here’s one resolution that I hope many of you will keep:  Read more books!  We try to make it easy for you by showcasing the best that we have, such as the New York Times Best Sellers display; and for children, the What’s New At The Library display in the Children’s Room.   Donations keep showing up and many of them are nearly new, hot off the top ten list.  Our classics section is easily accessible now in the Main Room, and those are always in vogue offering the best writing and the most engaging stories you’ll ever read.
We have also added a couple of exciting adult groups to entertain and challenge you.  The Writers’ Group meets every second Wednesday in the Annex at 2:30pm.  This is a group of folks who have a passion for writing, or who would like to hone their writing skills, or who would like to learn how.  If you have a secret longing to pen the great American novel  -  or just a really good story  -  come join this group.
The second gathering is a Book Club which meets on the second Monday in the Annex at 2:30pm.  Book clubs are a great way to be introduced to stories you might not choose yourself, but which expand your horizon and your experience.  For information on either of these groups, call Barbara Theus at 541-746-9734.  New members are always welcome.
The volunteers and I want to wish all of you a very happy new year filled with blessings and with joy.  We so appreciate your patronage and your support over the years and we look forward to many more years of continued service to the McKenzie River community.  Come see us often!
I’ll see you at the library.

Shelf Notes 2/2/12


Book Shelf imageThere are three matters of library business to mention before I get into the meat of this month’s article. The first is a correction: our book club, Leaburg Bookworms, meets on the THIRD Monday of each month, not the second. Sorry about that. The second is a congratulations: two new members have been elected to our Library Board, Barbara Theus and Steve Mealey, so we heartily welcome them aboard. The third item concerns a vacuum cleaner that has gone missing. We had it for years, but now it appears to have found a new home somewhere, so we need a replacement. If anyone has one that could be donated to the library we would be ecstatic. The floors are looking pretty grungy these days.
This month the topic is politics, but before you throw the paper down in disgust, bear with me. If you think the current campaign and those in recent memory have been vitriolic, mean-spirited, less than honest, and below-the-belt nasty (which they have), take a look at this. While you are reading, keep in mind that the year is 1800; our country was quite new. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were vying for the presidency, and the gloves were off.
 Jefferson had secretly hired James Callendar to distribute propaganda against Adams, and distribute he did. Callendar called Adams a “repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite; in his private life, one of the most egregious fools upon the continent. He is that strange compound of ignorance and ferocity, of deceit and weakness, a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Stories appeared in some newspapers ridiculing Adams as “old, addled and toothless.” The most vicious rumors charged that he was insane, a Tory, and “quite mad.”
Jefferson also found himself on the receiving end of “damaging accounts which decried him as a hopeless visionary, a weakling, more French than American and therefore a bad man. He was charged with infidelity to the Constitution, called a spendthrift and a libertine. One New York paper said that he had swindled clients as a young lawyer, and that he was a Godless man. A whispering campaign began to the effect that all southern slave masters were known to cohabit with slave women and that the Sage of Monticello was no exception.”
I’d like to see today’s candidates get away with diatribes like these!! Somehow what we’re hearing during this campaign season seems pretty tame!
The excerpts were taken from David McCullough’s fabulous biography, John Adams, himself a remarkable man. The library has this as well as many other books about the men and women who courageously shaped the history of our magnificent country, and about others who currently have an impact on our lives. Come see us.
I’ll see you at the library.

Marty Mealey, Director

Shelf Notes 5/3/12

MAY 2012

Book Shelf imageMy column will be a bit different this month because the husband of a friend of mine has died and I must write about it. My friend, Dee Anderson, was the soul of Leaburg Library for more than twenty years, seventeen of those as its director. Her husband Loren was her soul mate for more than fifty years, and they were a marvelous pair. Whatever needed to be done at the library was usually done by Dee with Loren close behind; hauling trash, transporting boxes of discarded books to other locations, replacing light bulbs, helping with fundraisers - you name it, they did it. And not just at the library. They have been involved in the community in one way or another for as many years as they have lived on the river.
Loren died yesterday (4-28) of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
During their marriage, he and Dee traveled all over the world to countries in Europe, Asia and the Far East, collecting memories and friends as they went, and sharing their experiences when they returned home. Loren was a very successful businessman but was even more successful as husband, father and friend. Whenever I came to their home to discuss something with Dee, Loren always came into the room to ask how things were going and to get his hug. It was a thing with us! And it was something that I always looked forward to. The last time I saw him, which was only a few days ago, he struggled to his feet when I came into the room and asked, “Do I get my hug?” Of course Loren, it was always my pleasure. He was a warm, funny, caring man – a real gentleman.
Henry Van Dyke wrote a lovely poem about the death of a loved one called “Gone From My Sight”. It is often used by the military as a eulogy for fallen servicemen or women, and it is so beautifully comforting. I offer this for Loren and his family.
I am standing at the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where
the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There she goes!”
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was
when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load
of living freight to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”, there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“Here she comes!”
I’ll see you later, Loren.

Marty Mealey, Director

Shelf Notes 9/20/12


Book Shelf imageThere is a beautiful picture book in the Children’s Room called “The Hello-Goodbye Window”.   It won the coveted Caldecott Medal in 2006, for its delightful illustrations.  It tells the story of a little girl who frequently visits her grandparents whom she loves very much.  She sees them in the window as she arrives and again as she is leaving, happy at the beginning and sad at the end.  It’s a perfect way to describe our feelings about two of the library’s dearest friends.
Larry McMullen was one of those guys who always seemed to show up when you needed him.  For many years, he was President of the McKenzie Lions Club, which until a year or so ago paid the library’s utility bills and provided much of the maintenance for the building.  Twice, he was the one who rounded up the painters to repaint the exterior, hauled all the supplies to the library, kept the pressure on until the job was completed, and did it with enthusiasm and a smile.  He came to help paint the Children’s Room on a Saturday in September five years ago; said he could stay for only an hour because he wasn’t feeling very well that day.  He stayed until it was finished.  Every time I look at the yellow strip around that room I think of Larry, up on a ladder, cracking jokes.
Often during the last few months of his life, he would come to the library in the off hours, his lovely granddaughter sometimes accompanying him, to return and borrow books.  He loved the Leaburg Library.  And we loved him.  Larry left us on July 27th, very quietly and with great dignity.  But yet as we say goodbye, other voices on another shore bid him hello.
We also have to say goodbye to Dee Anderson who is moving to the Seattle area where most of her children are living.  Dee was the Director of the library for seventeen years, and in that time endeared herself to everyone with her passion for and commitment to the library, her dedication to the people of this community, and her marvelous sense of humor, especially when things looked a bit bleak!  I’ll always remember her running outside to take pictures of the lovely huge trees that used to shade the building before they were cut down to make room for the Fire District’s Training Center.  She pasted the photos on a poster along with her heartfelt plea - “Remember The Trees!”  I don’t think our Fire Chief Darren Bucich will ever forget that!  
Dee led several successful fundraisers which have kept the library afloat, and recruited so many wonderful volunteers who have also kept the library afloat.    Although we, of course, wish her only the very best in her new home, it is difficult to say goodbye.
Perhaps the author of “The Hello-Goodbye Window” says it best:  “Everything important happens near the hello-goodbye window, or through it, or beyond it.  You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know.  It just happens that way.”   Godspeed.
I’ll see you at the library.

Marty Mealey, Director

Shelfnotes 4/4/2013

APRIL 2013

In January we heard the President’s version of the State of the Union. The message never changes very much regardless of whoever occupies the White House: the country is in pretty good shape; promises are made to do things that don’t really matter a whole lot; a few truly courageous citizens are honored with emotional tributes; and the members of Congress behave as they always do - those belonging to the party in power leap to their feet cheering loudly every five seconds, while those on the other side remain glued to their chairs. It is entertaining, however, if you have a sense of humor at all!
Anyway, that prompted me to consider writing a State of the Library message - with a few differences: I’ll be very honest; I won’t make promises that I can’t keep; and you folks get to judge how we’re doing.
On the surface, the library looks good. Our collection is growing thanks to some very nice donations to both the Adult and the Children’s rooms. We also have a great new computer in the Main room and a nifty laptop (one of three) in the Annex so that our patrons can access the internet as well as their e-mail accounts. All of these donated computers are powered by DSL high-speed connection, and are easy to use.
During the past year, we have welcomed several new volunteers to our ranks, and we are very grateful to them for their time and energy. They join our 23 “seasoned” volunteers, some of whom have been serving the community in this way since the library was organized in 1984, and all of whom are excellent people to know.
Now for the bad news! Our ancient building is very difficult to maintain. The huge windows are single-paned, some are broken, and all have gaps around the casings. There is no main heat source. The ceilings are cracked, although they no longer leak since the Fire Department put on the new roof! The plumbing works for now, however one never knows how long that will last. We have been heating the rooms with space heaters, which provide warmth but they are expensive to run. Our January EWEB bill was $439. The bottom line is that our annual expenses are approximately $3,000, which is difficult to come by since the library has no regular income.
The members of the Library Board have proposed a solution to the problem. It’s a fun idea and we hope that it will become an annual event. On September 20th, 2013, the library will host a fundraising auction called “Love Your Library,” to be held in the McKenzie Fire and Rescue Training Hall (across the parking lot from the library). The evening will begin with lots of yummy hors d’oeuvres and beverages, a brief history of Leaburg Library followed by a guided tour of the building. After that, you will have plenty of time to look over the various high-quality auction items and services before the event begins. Once that auctioneer starts though, hang on to your hat because it’s going to be an exciting ride! Don’t you just love an auction?!!
This will be a wonderful evening and a great way for you to help us keep the library operating for years to come. There will be much more information in this paper as the event draws closer, but in the meantime write “Love Your Library” on your calendars in big red letters. September 20th – BE THERE!
I’ll see you at the library.
Marty Mealey, Director


McKenzie River Reflections

Shelfnotes 9/5/2013


The official countdown has begun!! For what, you ask? Well, for a very important event in our community: the “Love Your Library” 30th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraising Auction, that’s what! And why is this such an important thing, you inquire? That, my friends, is a marvelous question and it deserves a very thoughtful answer.
So I’ll begin with another question: Why do we work so hard to keep our libraries, especially our small rural libraries, open and relevant? For me, it’s because they can and should be cultural and literary centers that contribute to the vitality and the spirit of our communities. It also has to do with the notion that the health of those communities is often reflected in the presence and the well-being of schools and libraries. My husband Steve loves to go fishing in the fall for half-pounders on the Rogue River near the tiny southwest Oregon village of Agness. While there he stays at Lucas Lodge. A few years ago, he told me that the nearby school had closed. The doors were unlocked, the little empty chairs were still in the classrooms, and the unused swings were still in the yard. That made him very sad, although he noted that the small community library next door was still open. Borrowed and returned books were left neatly on the covered porch and the outside light was on. The village still had a pulse.
Last year he returned only to find that the library, too, had closed. The place was empty. No books were stacked on the porch, no lights were on, and the door was locked tight. With both the school and library closed, Agness seemed somehow diminished. The community pulse was fading. One wonders how the decision to close that library was made. Did a group of volunteers get tired of trying to keep it going? Did the people stop coming, thinking that it was no longer important to them? Were folks unwilling to help?
Not long ago our communities along the McKenzie, like Agness, were busier than they are now with more people living and working in the valley. Today however, even though some things have changed, the heartbeat of the communities remains strong. They are vital and full of spirit with three schools and two volunteer libraries serving the people who live in the “String of Pearls”.
Leaburg Library is housed in the old Leaburg Schoolhouse  how fitting is that! The 1923 building shows its age, but it is a vibrant part of our community and it has an important mission: to provide a source of education, enlightenment and entertainment for anyone who walks through our doors - at no cost. Everything in the library has been donated, including the furniture. It’s the things that are not donated that concern us: insurance, electricity, office supplies, children’s magazine subscriptions, minor repairs. These are the things that could force us to close the doors, just like the folks in Agness had to do.
We have a solution! We are throwing a party and you are all invited. Just by your presence you can help keep the library and the communities it serves alive and well  you can help keep the pulse strong!
Those of you who patronize our library already know what a treasure it is. The rest of you need to come discover us, and what better time than on Friday, September 20th, from 6 to 9 PM, at the McKenzie Fire and Rescue Community Center in Leaburg. The list of both silent and oral auction items is awesome!! We have a stunning metal sculpture from Ken Scott, two rare antique bamboo fly rods, a trip for two to Las Vegas, dinner for two at Marche with a night at Inn at the 5th hotel, fishing trips with McKenzie Guides Steve Schaefers and Doug Caven with two nights at Inn at the Bridge, Sweet Cheeks wine tour via limo with gourmet lunch, a fire truck ride for four kids with activities and lunch, an antique Sessions mantle clock, a painting by Jack Vettriano, handmade quilts, a watercolor collage by Janet Biles, books, a Wilton Armetale RWP Pewter mug/goblet set, and lots more. Oh, and delicious food served all evening!!!
This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to buy something wonderful and help the library at the same time. And remember, Christmas is just around the corner! Come celebrate our 30th anniversary, have some fun at a fabulous auction, and help us keep the lights on for at least another 30 years. The beat goes on!!!!!!!!
I’ll see you at “Love Your Library!”
Marty Mealey, Director


McKenzie River Reflections