A new chapter

Cedar Mill Library's new Bethany strorefront branch a 'logical move'
by: Jonathan House, Peter Leonard, executive director of the Cedar Mill Community Library, is excited about plans to open a new Bethany branch library in July to expand services for patrons.

The Cedar Mill Community Library is getting creative with its plan to expand services to loyal patrons.

The library will open a new storefront branch this summer in the Bethany Village Shopping Center.

'This is a very logical move,' said Harry Bodine, a longtime Cedar Mill library supporter and former board member. 'I'm glad it's finally happening.

'The folks in Bethany worked very hard to help us pass the Washington County library levy, which makes all this possible. The new branch library will be on the perimeter of our service area and really improve services for folks in Bethany while taking some of the pressure off the Cedar Mill building.'

The Cedar Mill Community Library has been providing public library service to the unincorporated area north of the Sunset Highway since 1976.

Cedar Mill's facility at Cornell and Saltzman roads is near capacity. With a steady increase of new developments in the area, the library is hard-pressed to meet all its patrons' needs in its existing building.

'We've hit the limits on what we can do in one facility,' said Peter Leonard, Cedar Mill's library director. 'The growth we've had in this area prompted us to think about where else we could provide services.

'We've been talking about getting a Bethany branch library set up since 2002.'

For the past several years, the library has been working with Roy Kim and the Central Bethany Development to find an ideal location in the neighborhood to open a Bethany branch.

'There are so many people who live up there and a lot of young families,' Leonard said. 'With all the new homes going up in the area, we thought it would be a great location for a library.'

Kim agreed and offered to lease a 1,800-square-foot retail space in the Bethany Village Shopping Center at a discounted rate, well below the market value.

The Cedar Mill Community Library board voted March 20 to sign a four-year lease for the space.

The branch library is expected to open in July in Suite D-6, 15320 N.W. Central Drive.

Work in progress

Library staff and volunteers have high hopes for the new library.

'It's going to be a very popular library filled with high-demand items for children as well as adults,' Leonard said. 'We know on opening day we will be a work in progress and can expect to improve services with each day.

'But, there's a lot of things that have to happen between now and then.'

Among the to-do list for the coming months is securing additional funding for books and library materials for the Bethany collection.

The Cedar Mill library board has tapped into the library's reserves to make opening the Bethany branch possible.

The board estimated that start-up costs would pencil in around $59,200.

The Washington County Cooperative Library Services will contribute about $8,500 to cover costs to hook the library up to the county server, pay for the router and licensing costs for technology and delivery support.

Because funding is based on a formula that reimburses libraries for services provided in the previous year, it would take at least 30 months for the Bethany branch to be self-supporting, Leonard said.

In the meantime, the library plans to apply for grants, host fund-raisers and rely on tax-deductible community donations.

The library is also looking for volunteers to help establish the new storefront facility.