Wallowa County residents don’t fully understand everything the county will lose if the county library closes and a library district is not formed.
“One of the things that you hear is that if you vote ‘no.’ you will still have all your services at the Enterprise Library — well, no, that’s not true, because all of the children’s programing that up until now has been provided by the county library will not be there,” said Enterprise City Librarian Denine Rautenstrauch.
Rautenstrauch spoke at a meeting of library supporters Tuesday part of a Political Action Committee that will educate Wallowa County in advance of the May vote to create a library district.
“There’s only me and I’m there 32 hours a week,” Rautenstrauch added. “Without (county librarian) Susan Polumsky’s assistance, it’s not possible for me to provide all that programming.”
Among the strategies is handouts to answer common questions, which will be improved continually as the campaign moves forward and more feedback from citizens is received.
Right now the default vote for a library district is “no” for folks who are uninformed, according to volunteer coordinator Angela Bombaci.
“As long as people have this misunderstanding that nothing will change, not changing always seems safer than change,” she said.
“The unknown is really scary,” agreed temporary co-chair Kim Weatherrite. “At the onset ... there was so much unknown that it was really scary. As we’ve developed more of a plan, (the library district) has become a more feasible option that is easier to embrace.”
Another common misunderstanding is that grant dollars to support the many programs would continue to come in, and programs would continue to be offered. Polumsky writes the bulk of the grants and oversees the programs. If Polumsky’s position is erased, there will be no one available to write and oversee grants.
The PAC will present more facts and figures to the community in an effort to clarify the situation in the coming months.
Many of the attendees at the December PAC meeting signed on to be part of committees to work on budgeting, media and advertising, networking, endorsement relationships, fundraising and organization. More volunteers are needed. Contact volunteer coordinator Bombaci 541-778-0055.
Programs Wallowa County will lose without a district to support the county library.
• Troy and Imnaha library branches, serving residents and both school locations
• Classroom and homeschool curriculum support
• “Deliver-me-a-book” for seniors and homebound
• Community Clubs (cribbage, puzzle exchange, exercise class)
• Community Service worker site
• Training Wheels program
• Leap into Literacy storytimes
• Free children’s books
• Rotation book bags
• Newborn Baby book bags
• Up & Away after-school programs
• Literacy packets
• Parent education resources
• Read Early, Read Often campaign
• Read 1,000 books before kindergarten challenge
• Preschool Science programs
• Kindergarten Readiness activities
• Social Media Services (early Literacy and Learning; gardening; travel Pinterest boards; Facebook).