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TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Megan Miller, a Tigard Library volunteer, shelves books on Thursday, Jan. 7.

This story has been updated

After years of waiting, book lovers across Tigard were finally able to celebrate today.

Their library is back open.

Thursday, Jan. 7, marked the return to seven-day service for the Tigard Public Library. The library hasn’t been open on Thursdays since 2012, after the city closed its doors one-day-a-week due to budget cuts.

“I love that it’s back open,” said Mike Buchanan, flipping through a magazine in one of the library's easy chairs. “I pulled into parking lot this morning and remembered it was Thursday and turned around (thinking it was closed), but when I saw the sign saying it was back open, I came right in.”

Buchanan, who has lived in Tigard for more than two decades, said he uses the library several times a month.

Tigard Public Library hours

Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.

Monday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thursdays were traditionally a lighter day at the library before its closure in 2012, but you’d never have known that based on the throng of people using computers and browsing the shelves on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s pretty packed in here,” said library volunteer Megan Miller.

The library averages about 2,100 checkouts a day on a weekday, according to Paula Walker, spokeswoman with the library.

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Tigard resident Mike Buchanon reads at the Tigard Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 7. The library  reopened on Thursdays after years of 6-day-a-week service.On Thursday the library checked out about 1,800 materials, Walker said.

“For the first Thursday after three-and-a-half years? I think that’s pretty respectable,” Walker said.

"People are excited," said Molly Carlisle, the library's reader services manager. "When I got in at 9 a.m., there were people standing in front of the doors waiting for them to open. They were ready."

Carlisle said that librarians are glad to have Thursdays back, too.

“We feel like we’re back to our old selves again,” she said.

Carlisle said that libraries are about more than just books or DVDs.

“The materials will always be important, but it’s about the space itself,” she said. “People like to have a place they can go that’s comfortable, just to be free and have fun. A lot of people enjoy this environment and having a place they can go. They come here to do work, to study, to get together. I’ve seen the study rooms here used for job interviews and visitations. These spaces belong to the community.”

Carlisle said that, for now, the library isn't planning on offering any programs on Thursdays.

“Our focus right now is on manning the service desks and being here and being open,” she said.

For years, Tigard library patrons have begged the city to re-open the library on Thursdays, saying that it’s a vital part of the community. Reopening on Thursdays is regularly listed as a top priority by library patrons, during the library’s annual survey.

The Tigard City Council agreed to reopen the library on Thursday last year, pending the passage of a slightly larger bond levy for Washington County Cooperative Library Services. That levy was easily approved by Washington County voters.

"It's a win for the community. It's a win for reading,” Tigard Librarian Margaret Barnes told The Times in November. "… A lot of people come in and use the computers to search for jobs or fill out applications. School age children will have a place to do their homework. It's a true testament of the relationships that public libraries have with our communities."

The Council is also considering changing the way it pays for parks, in an attempt to free up money which city officials said would be used on the library as well as public safety. A vote on that topic is expected on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Editor's Note: This story was updated with additional comments from Molly Carlisle, the library's reader services manager.

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor, The Times
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