September 16, 2012
A BRIEF HISTORY
OF LEABURG LIBRARY
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