Parade, storytelling, Shakespeare on tap for opening

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Interim Aloha Library Director Terry Palmer, right, talks with volunteer Barbara Scillian in January as they try to figure out the layout of the library's new location.After closing for the day on Monday, the Aloha Community Library — as visitors have come to know it since September 2012, at least — is gone. Over. Kaput.

Never fear, however, as a bigger and likely better facility is set to open next week just across the parking lot from its cozy, if cramped location west of the Bales Thriftway Marketplace.

The library will celebrate a grand reopening in its new, 1,925-square-foot digs at 17455 S.W. Farmington Road on Saturday, April 12, beginning at 10 a.m. with a storybook character parade from the old library to the new one, followed by children’s story time, refreshments and words from local dignitaries.

The Friday night before, award-winning storyteller Olga Loya will present “Let’s Work Together” on April 11 at 7 p.m. in the former Blockbuster Video building at 17555 S.W. Farmington Road. In the program, Loya will share myths, legends and personal stories from Latin America and around the world.

Also on Friday evening, local thespian Nathan Longacre a Westside Christian High School student, will produce, direct and act in a four-scene play at the Edwards/Aloha Community Center, 4375 S.W. Edwards Place, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m.

The play comprises four iconic scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, including “Macbeth,” “King Lear” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Proceeds from the $8 tickets will be split between the Aloha Community Library Association and the Edwards Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing work opportunities and living assistance to adults with disabilities.

Doug Hoy, chairman of the library’s board of directors, is looking forward to the activities to inaugurate a rich new chapter in the library’s evolution.

“We’re just excited about this transition with the expansion we’re doing,” he said. “We’re going into a significantly larger space where we can offer a wider variety of programs for the public. It’s still modest, but it’s the next transition for us as a nonprofit library.”

The move into the former National Guard recruitment center — an approximately 40 percent size increase from the library’s original location — provides a high ceiling, large storefront-style windows and plenty of infrastructure to accommodate digital technology stations. Smaller spaces in the back will accommodate a break room, a public restroom and office space for interim Library Director Terri Palmer.

The new space will allow an expansion of media materials and technology-based services such as Internet and computer stations.

“I have some ideas that can keep increasing patron traffic and circulation numbers,” Palmer said in January. “We plan to open with new and enticing materials.”

Once the move is completed, Hoy and the library’s other eight board members will finalize and submit an application to the Washington County Cooperative Library Services system. To become part of the county’s 17-library system at its level three designation, the Aloha library must increase its full-time staff while fulfilling criteria such as increasing weekly operations from 37 to 40 hours and monthly circulation from the current 2,000 or so items to about 3,330 for an annual 40,000-item circulation.

“That application will be a milestone for us,” Hoy said on Tuesday. “We expect it to be received positively. We don’t take anything for granted, but this is a serious (step) for us.”

Once submitted, the application could take a few months of review before the community library would be accepted into the county system. The Aloha library board, which seeks to raise $100,000 in donations this fiscal year, would like the library to be a cooperative member in time for the 2015-16 budget cycle and a proposed local option levy voters will consider in November 2015.

“Ultimately, library funding won’t come to use until 2016 after the (proposed) library levy passes in the fall of 2015,” Hoy noted. “The levy will be a pivotal vote for us to become a publicly funded library.”

Assuming the levy passes and the library, which has two paid staff members and about 50 active volunteers, is accepted into the Washington County system, public money wouldn’t trickle down to Aloha until fall 2016.

“It’s all about timing and budget cycles,” Hoy said. “Until then, we have to continue to sustain ourselves through the financial donations of the community.”

Hoy is confident next weekend’s grand opening fanfare will draw positive attention to the evolving library.

“We’ll have a parade for kids and special speakers including local school administrators and county officials to welcome everybody in the new space,” he said, noting the Shakespeare production adds a special touch to the festivities. “It’s kind of exciting. We’ve got a pretty crazy week leading up to our opening.”

One for the books

What: Aloha Community Library grand opening celebration for its new location

When: Friday, April 11, through Sunday, April 13

Where: 17455 S.W. Farmington Road, former Blockbuster Video building at 17555 S.W. Farmington Road, and Aloha/Edwards Community Center, 4375 S.W. Edwards Place

Events: Storyteller Olga Loya on Friday; four-act Shakespeare production on Friday and Sunday; children’s parade on Saturday at 10 a.m., followed by children’s storytelling at 10:30 a.m. and words from local dignitaries at 11 a.m.

More information: Visit or call 503-746-6918

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