Keeping Cook library vibrant

By Observer editorial July 23, 2010 06:41 am
La Grande’s Cook Memorial Library, like many public entities, is feeling the pain of the ongoing recession. The library’s budget has been cut. But Library Director Terri Washburn seems to be making the best of a bad situation.
Washburn is finding ways to try to keep the library’s level of services up, despite reduced hours and less money to spend on books and programs. She has started a new Friends of the Library group and is seeking funding for programs such as providing audio books. The
La Grande Community Library Foundation came through with a grant for the latter, and Washburn is letting people know that their public library isn’t just
withering away.

Formation of the Friends group makes sense. Apparently the library once had such a group, but it faded away.  Washburn has brought back the concept. A Friends of the Library group, with active involvement of library patrons, has the potential to provide a bridge for some funding when public resources become more scarce, as they are today.

Anyone who cares about libraries, and ensuring their success, should consider becoming a Friend of Cook Library — or at least a contributor. Look for fundraisers in the months ahead and ways to help out. Libraries are cornerstones of communities. And vibrant communities have vibrant libraries.

Washburn seems committed to ensuring that Cook Memorial Library will remain vibrant even in a time of budget cuts. Looking for funding opportunities, starting a Friends group and continuing to provide a wide array of public programs will keep the library in everyone’s mind.

La Grande needs — and deserves — that.