The books formerly comprising the Wallowa County Library shortly will have new homes. The Wallowa Valley Library Foundation presented a draft proposal of a plan to Wallowa County Commissioners at an Aug. 6 commissioners meeting.
Jonelle McCoy, president of the foundation board, along with board member Bonnie Marks, told commissioners that librarians from Enterprise, Joseph and Wallowa had all expressed a desire to have most of the books divided amongst them.
Literacy kits have already been transferred to Building Healthy families. Now, librarians and Imnaha and Troy schools have asked for permission to visit the county library to determine what books would best fit their communities. Enterprise Librarian Denine Rautenstrauch has volunteered to house all of the large- print books, which were popular among elderly readers.
The foundation also suggested that books with rare or historical value be donated to local museums and books unfit for library use due to age, relevancy or condition be sold to raise funds for library programs.
“We’ve realized, talking to the librarians, there is no way the other libraries can absorb all of what the collection was,” McCoy said. “We’ve reached out to Wallowa Resources, and they have some (storage) space in their basement we may be able to use.”
The first order of business, McCoy said, was to examine the collection, allow librarians access to the collection and find the paperwork outlining the correct handling of books purchased through grant programs.
City libraries currently receive a small donation (approximately $300 per library) from the county, and Marks suggested the commissioners might like to increase that amount going forward.
“The county used to provide more funding,” said Commissioner Susan Roberts. “I had suggested when this (closure of the county library) all started that the county may be willing to ... boost the amount back to what it had been.”
That might not happen until next year.
“Maybe we can coordinate a little bit with the city libraries going into the next budget cycle, next year, and figure out how we might work together there,” said Commissioner Todd Nash.
The formal proposal of actions, however, needs to be made before winter sets in and the county library collection could be left sitting in an unheated building.
McCoy said the foundation could have a formal proposal within six weeks.