Families flock to new library childrens room

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lauren Gault, 6, plays in the newly renovated children's room at the West Linn Public Library. Two months after the revamped children’s room opened at the West Linn Public Library, director Holly Mercer couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

“It’s fabulous,” Mercer said. “Families are really enjoying it. They’re staying down there, spending time together — they’re making it a great place to gather, learn and play.”

The renovation arrived on the heels of a $20,000 donation from the West Linn Library Foundation. The project included moving a full-service circulation desk downstairs while also adding a young teen or “tween” area, upgrading the furniture and adding collaboration areas where children can play with electronic tablets and interact with each other.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A new young teen or 'tween' area was added as part of the renovation.

The tablets won’t arrive for a few months, Mercer said, but the children’s area still offers collaborative tables, Legos, trains and computers.

The room is divided into different areas based on age groups — from infants to toddlers and beyond — to assure that families can find suitable activities for every child.

The West Linn Library Foundation was founded specifically for charitable purposes and received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in June 2010. The foundation raises money primarily though individual donations, “planned giving” through bequests or estate plans and grants.

The foundation’s next goal is to raise money for a new teen area at the library — which Mercer hopes will be completed by next year.

To learn more about the West Linn Library Foundation or make a donation, visit

Library late fees will decrease

Since the library increased its late fee from 10 cents per day to 25 cents back in June, the ripple effects have been evident in both resident feedback and checkout rates.

According to Mercer, checkouts of children’s material decreased by 10 percent between September and November compared to the same months in 2012, and a number of library cardholders said the fee increase was simply too steep.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The new children's room sits just outside of the new parking lot on the library's lower level.

“The percent of the increase was what created the most hardships,” Mercer said. “So before what would have been a 40 cent charge was now a dollar. That’s a lot, especially for families who check out lots of items.”

Thus, Mercer and the city agreed that the library should shift back to a more reasonable 15 cents per day starting Jan. 1.

The library will also revive its Food for Fines program this February, allowing library patrons to reduce their overdue fees by 50 cents for every can of nonperishable, nutritious food they donate.

“It’s a tradition that’s been done in February,” Mercer said. “Patrons got used to it, but for the past few years we haven’t done it. So we’re reinstating a program that was well received in the past.”

Patrick Malee can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 106. Follow him on Twitter, @pmalee_wl

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