Letter to the Editor for April 15, 2014

A Washougal library update

The Washougal Library is one of 16 library service sites in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. It opened in 1981 in the current 2,400 square foot building, when the population of Washougal was about 4,000. It’s a warm and inviting place - but tiny.

In the last third of a century our city has more than tripled in size! Our library serves not only the 14,000 plus citizens of the City of Washougal, but surrounding areas. We go from the boundary of our suburb to the west (Camas) through much of Skamania County. Our area has grown and prospered - but our library facility is still in the same small space.

To meet the needs of our expanding population Washougal needs a new library, and we’re already on our way. The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District has committed $500,000 toward construction of a new facility for our area. In addition, we (along with two other communities, Woodland and Ridgefield) will receive our share of $400,000 to assist in planning for a new home for our books, computers, magazines, books on disc, DVD’s - all the various sources of information and enjoyment that make up a modern library.

Our new facility will include space for community gatherings, display space for works of art, tutoring rooms, and quiet reading areas. It will be flexible, expanding to meet current and future technology needs. It will be a place where young citizens can gather in a wholesome and healthy environment and provide another important resource for early childhood development. It will be a place where businesses can research vital information on demographics and market research. In short, our library will be an interactive place for everyone.

We’re happy to report that we will soon have the services of professional planners to assist us in taking the next steps in securing our new library. We will involve the community in the planning process to the greatest extent possible, and we’ll keep you informed about our progress.

The Friends of Washougal Community Library has been raising money to support our new facility, most recently through our recent very successful book sale. We have raised over $15,000 so far - and we have a long way to go! We’ll be writing grants, holding fund-raisers, and seeking help from local and state governments - and accepting donations. For information on our efforts, stop into the library and meet our librarian, Chris Hughey.

The Friends of Washougal Community Library meets every fourth Thursday evening at the library on C Street, next to City Hall, at 7PM. Please join us and get involved!

Chuck Carpenter, Washougal