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Aloha library easing into WCCLS membership

Summer entertainment starts soon but circulation services coming after new library space is finished


TIMES PHOTO: ERIC APALATEGUI - Individual donors have been helping the Aloha Community Library with its capital campaign, which will help renovate a larger space as the library expands offerings as a new member of the Washington County Cooperative Library Services.

Editor's note: Correction appended.

Next month, the Grammy Award-winning Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band will help rock home the message that the Aloha Community Library has finally arrived.

But just because the library officially becomes a member of the Washington County Cooperative Library Services on July 1, director Terri Palmer cautioned patrons not to expect that arrival to come in one big rush this summer.

“Everything else will happen once we move around the corner,” said Palmer, anticipating the completion of renovations in the library’s future home in a larger storefront at the shopping center that includes Bales Marketplace at 17455 S.W. Farmington Road.

Palmer expects library users to be able to drop off books checked out from any WCCLS-member library with the new opening of the larger space, which she hopes will happen in mid-October, following several weeks of full closure during the transition.TIMES PHOTO: ERIC APALATEGUI - The Aloha Community Library Association is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to help for renovating its larger location. They hope to eventually raise $350,000, but officials also are looking to trim expenses in the shorter term.

However, it likely will be another month or more after the opening before books, movies and other materials can be reserved online for pickup in Aloha, one of the most-anticipated aspects of WCCLS membership for many patrons, Palmer said.

By the first of the year, Palmer hopes to have all services available, and also to have the library ready to ramp up to being open 45 hours a week or more. The future schedule has not yet been set.

Palmer said that phasing in new services is a necessity, especially considering that its staff will more than quadruple from its current two part-time employees — Palmer and librarian Jesse Castellanos — to nine employees by fall. Palmer, Castellanos and two future employees will work full-time, and another five will work part-time. Some will need training.

The library also will continue to lean heavily on volunteers and will recruit even more later this summer as it gears up to move into a larger space with longer hours, Palmer said.

Finances also will influence how quickly the library reaches checks off all of its goals, Palmer said.

The Aloha Community Library Association is in the midst of a $350,000 capital campaign, with about $150,000 secured, including $100,000 in startup money from the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

They also received a $25,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to help purchase work station furniture and about $25,000 in donations from the community.

“The community so far has really stepped up with what they can,” Palmer said.

Even so, Palmer said the association is looking to trim its immediate budget by paring back some of the renovation costs and making more use of donated furniture, shelving and other equipment. For example, they’ve abandoned an earlier idea of keeping their lease on their current storefront, which faces Farmington but backs up to the new space, as a potential children’s alcove connected to the larger library.

They also will have a more modest space for programs, but nearby Mt. Olivet Baptist Church has volunteered its facilities for entertainment offerings that are likely to draw more people.

They will keep plans to sound-proof the wall they share with the Peppermill Restaurant’s lounge, mostly to help dampen any noise from karaoke contests and televised football games.

Library officials currently are working on permits for the renovations with Washington County before construction begins this summer, Palmer said.

Summer Events

In its first summer as part of Washington County Cooperative Library Services, the Aloha Community Library is hosting four special events.

All of these will be held at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 17800 S.W. Kinnaman Road, around the corner from the current library and across the parking lot from the Peppermill Restaurant.

All events are free and open to the public.

— Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band: 2 p.m. Monday, July 18

— Il Teatro Calamari: 2 p.m. Thursday, July 21

— En Taiko: 2 p.m. Monday, July 25

— Reptile Man: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16

Correction: This original version of this article erroneously identified the source of $100,000 in county funding.