McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

Shelfnotes 9/5/2013


September 9, 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



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