A downtown gem

August 21, 2008 03:09 pm

One of the true gems in the La Grande downtown is the F. Maxine and Thomas W. Cook Memorial Library. I would encourage everyone to take time to stop in and see what we have to offer.

We have fresh, up-to-date collections of books, audio books, video/DVD formats for children and adults, and 125 subscriptions to magazines and newspapers. The Colleen F. Johnson Community Room is available for a variety of uses and is an ideal location for meetings and activities at no cost.

Currently we are providing outreach services such as our weekly reading program at Grande Ronde Retirement, visits to schools and preschools with children’s stories and materials, and the delivery of books and audio books to homebound residents in La Grande.

For those without access to the Internet or computers we have 13 free public-access Internet computers, free wireless in the library and free weekly classes during the winter months for beginning Internet users.

Our Adult and Family Literacy Center provides free tutoring by trained volunteers in all areas of learning.

Beginning in September, Tutor.com will be accessible from your home. This is a nationwide, one-on-one live online homework help for students of all ages.  Individuals normally pay $30 per hour for the service, but through LEO (the nonprofit Libraries of Eastern Oregon) and several large Oregon foundations we will offer it free of charge. 

Be sure to check at the desk for current schedules of upcoming programs including Cyndi’s List’s very own Cyndi, giving a free four-hour program on genealogy searching; Northwest Paranormals program on ghost hunting; Smithsonian brownbag lunch live videoconferences directly from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Wash., D.C.; “A Sense of Place: A Journey Home to the Middle East’’ slide program on recent trips to Middle East by presenters with roots in Eastern Oregon; and writing workshops by well-known Oregon authors.

If you are interested in volunteering, we have a number of programs such as assisting library staff or reading as a guest reader during the bi-weekly Sleepytime Storytimes for young children. Just drop by and let them know you want to become a volunteer.

We are fortunate to have the library as the anchor of our downtown, but without visitors it is only a building at the corner of Fourth and Adams. So stop in and take advantage of all that this wonderful gathering place has to offer.

Robert Strope is La Grande’s city manager.