Librarians discuss National Library Week activities, changes to library over the years

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Estacada library staff members Sarah Hibbert, Michele Kinnamon, Leslie Pearson and  Alice Perez Ververa are eager to welcome a variety of visitors to the library.

Leaders at the Estacada Public Library have transformation on their minds.

From Sunday, April 9 to Saturday, April 15, the Estacada library will join numerous others across the country in participating in National Library Week, the theme of which is "libraries transform." The celebration is organized by the American Library Association.

"(We're focusing on) what they've contributed to culture, and the country," said Michele Kinnamon, director of the Estacada Public Library.

Librarians in Estacada are eager to hear how local patrons have been influenced by libraries — whether it's a school, public or academic collection of books and resources that have made a difference.

"We want to hear from our patrons, and give them a way to say how they've been transformed by a library," Kinnamon said, noting that the responses would be put on display.

In addition to cultivating a conversation about library experiences, the week will also feature a Food for Fines drive. For each nonperishable food item brought in, $1 will be taken away from any overdue

fees patrons have accrued.

The food will then be brought to the Estacada Area Food Bank.

In many ways, it's fitting that transformation is the theme of National Library week, since the Estacada Public Library has seen many changes over the years.

Kinnamon and Circulation Manager Sarah Hibbert believe the biggest of these changes was the literary hub's move to its present location at 825 N.W. Wade St. just over a decade ago. Previously, the library shared a space with Estacada City Hall in the building that City Hall and the Council Chambers now occupy at 475 S.E. Main St.

"There wasn't much room," Hibbert recalled. "If you spread your arms out, there would be no space to move."

After a process of fundraising, planning and construction, the library moved its new building on Wade Street in August of 2006.

Library leaders have found it easier to be a community gathering place in the larger space.

"The best thing about the new library is the ability to do more," Kinnamon said. "So much goes on in the Flora (Community) Room —yoga, tai chi, birthday parties, Worksource (classes)."

To complement these previous changes, library staff noted that there are several more in the works.

Along with other libraries in Clackamas County, Estacada plans to roll out new technology to streamline the process for patrons checking out items.

Expected to be installed this summer, the radio-frequency identification, or RFID, system utilizes electromagnetic fields containing information and will feature tags on all items in the library's collection. This will allow patrons to place a stack of items on a checkout counter for automatic processing rather than having to scan them one by one.

"(Having to scan each individual item) slows down the process," Kinnamon said. "We're happy to offer the citizens of Clackamas County this technology."

Additionally, the library's expanded parking lot is expected to see completion sometime this fall. The parking lot, being developed on the neighboring property at 915 N.W. Wade St., is in the engineering phase. Construction will likely start in late August to avoid interrupting patrons attending summer reading events.

Once completed, the expansion will more than double the number of parking spots at the library. Kinnamon believes the additional parking will be a valuable asset to the community.

"When we have the garden club, summer reading (events) and Flora Room events, the parking lot is totally full," she said.

Library staff have been working to create a space that engages all members of the community. In addition to increased programming for children and adults and a recurring storytime at Whispering Pines Senior Village, Alice Perez Ververa was recently hired as a Hispanic outreach coordinator, providing Spanish translation as necessary.

With these new developments, library staff hope to catch the eye of a greater number of visitors.

"We want to pull people in for more than tax forms and voting," Hibbert said.

Kinnamon echoed the sentiment.

"It's an incredible treasure we have in the library," she said. "People come in and marvel at what a library we have for being a small town. We would love to see newer and older residents see what we have."

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