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Literally, doors have opened to literacy

North Marion Community Library opens its doors to the public after years of hard work


Photo Credit: LINDSAY KEEFER - Photo by Lindsay Keefer
Josie Hyde (left) and Jan Metzger work on filling the shelves of the newly opened North Marion Community Library located in the basement of Aurora Presbyterian Church. The library will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.After years of meeting, fundraising and trying to find a location, the North Marion Community Library is finally open to all residents of North Marion County.

The concept of the library, which is housed in the basement of the Aurora Presbyterian Church, stemmed from the disadvantage residents of Hubbard, Aurora and Donald have had in having access to books.

Non-Woodburn residents can have a card at the Woodburn Public Library, but they’re limited to one checkout and one hold (except for children, who can check out up to 25 items). A full service card costs $60 a year. Similarly, a Marion County resident could have access to libraries in Clackamas County (LINCC) by paying $95 at the Canby Public Library.

“For a community to thrive you should have a library,” Aurora resident Josie Hyde said.

Hyde is the treasurer of North Marion Community Library Association, which started meeting about four years ago. The process has taken so long, members said, because of the need to organize permits and licenses and to draft by-laws. After that, fundraising efforts were put into place, all while looking for an ideal location.

With members who attend the Aurora Presbyterian Church at 21553 Liberty St. N.E., an agreement was made, and the library was able to set up shop in 100 square feet of space in the church basement.

The church is just one of many organizations to contribute to the North Marion library cause. The Woodburn Adult Center has been one of the largest donors of books and the student business BlackLine Productions out of North Marion High School prepped the library’s nine bookshelves. The wheels on the bottom of the bookshelves make for easy storage when the library is closed.

“We bought the parts and the (library association) reimbursed us, but the rest was donated,” Joe Shepherd, staff adviser to the high school company, said. “If people work that hard to put those details together, then helping them out is just a nice thing to do.”

Because the group is limited in space and time in the church basement, members hope to get a grant for a bigger and more visible space.

“I’m just glad we have a presence in the community at all,” Jan Metzger, the association’s secretary, said. “Thanks to the hospitality of the church, it’s just been wonderful.”

With about 4,000 books donated, a bar code system figured out and library cards ordered, the library is open for business. To celebrate, the association is hosting a grand opening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be an author book signing, face painting, story time and more.

The book signing will be at nearby Heirloom Revival Co., 14936 Third St. N.E., Aurora, where Dora M. Gourley, an author and painter, will be on hand to sign books and meet residents.

As the library continues to grow, its board members are still looking for donations of both time and books. In particular, they’re in need of newer fiction novels and young adult books, and they also could use help from someone with website design experience.

The library has a long way to go before it can be considered part of the Marion County library system — the library has to be running for three years and needs to have reached a certain amount in circulation. That means volunteer efforts in the meantime are key.

For more information on how to help, contact Jan Metzger at 503-678-1960 or Josie Hyde at 541-749-8088. Keep up with the North Marion Community Library by visiting its website or liking it on Facebook.

Hyde and Metzger said they’re continuing to spread the word, putting information in water bills, having a float in the Aurora Colony Days Parade and even stopping people in the street.

“We walk every day and every time we run into someone we tell them about the library,” Hyde said. “We’re not shy!”

Both Hyde and Metzger said they’re ecstatic at the progress the library has made.

“This has gone beyond my wildest expectations, given the amount of space we have to work with,” Hyde said.

“After working on it for so many years,” Metzger said, “to look and see those books with tags on them — it’s a great feeling.”



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