The Douglas County Commissioners voted to shut down the county’s library system, effective June 1. However, several library branches, including the Drain Library, closed their doors in May leaving residents still holding their check-outs and little direction on how to return them. Additionally, the county has not reported on the specifics of a future for the libraries but has noted local communities are welcome to explore funding options.
The decision to close the libraries came after Douglas County residents voted down a tax district that would have continued to fund the library system for a county that has been plagued with financial shortcomings tied to the timber industry and governmental limitations. While the commission was able to hold off immediate closure, the board approved the slow-moving shut down that will conclude this summer.
However, Umpqua Community College has stepped in to notify residents that the facility’s library is still open and welcomes the public.
A press release issued by the college stated that UCC has been a part of the county’s shared library system since 1991. If a customer searched the countywide system and found that a resource was available at UCC, then UCC would send that resource to any branch located within the county’s system—making it available for the customer to check out. When the 10 outlying branches located in Canyonville, Drain, Glendale, Myrtle Creek, Oakland, Reedsport, Riddle, Sutherlin, Winston, and Yoncalla closed on April 1, UCC’s ability to participate in the shared program stopped as well.
“In addition to being a part of a shared system for more than 25 years, we’ve also had a community card option for a long time,” Carol McGeehon, UCC’s Library Director, said. “To receive a community card, all a person must do is prove they are a Douglas County resident.”
UCC’s collection is primarily made up of non-fiction and academic works. The fiction collection is very limited. Visitors have access to the print, digital, and e-books collections. There is also an internet-accessed computer that can be used by public users for one hour at a time.
“We just want the public to know they still have a place to go and check out books,” McGeehon said.