Oregon Area Community Book's Blog

January 5, 2011

Oregon Public Library Centennial Celebration 1910-2010

Filed under: Community, Social — oregonareacommbook @ 7:50 pm

By Susan Santner, Library Director

To celebrate this marvelous achievement the library offered a series of programs throughout the year.  Events kicked off in January with a yearlong Centennial Community Read. It was a program designed to get as many people as possible in the Oregon area to read the same book at the same time. The goal was to foster community by providing a forum for public discussion and interaction-and most of all-demonstrating that reading can be fun!

The Centennial Community Read selection was Living a Country Year: Wit and Wisdom from the Good Old Days by Wisconsin author Jerry Apps. In this warm hearted memoir, Apps tells of growing up on a farm near Wild Rose, Wisconsin in the 1940’s. The chapters are arranged from January to December and talk about love and respect for the land and for a vanishing rural way of life by using personal incidents, adventures, recipes, observations and thoughts for each month.

One way to participate in the Centennial Community Read was to listen to a chapter being read aloud and sample a recipe from the book. The library co-sponsored a Reader’s Theatre series with the Oregon Area Senior Center. Library staff, along with volunteers, read a chapter and the Senior Center provided samples of the recipes.

Jerry Apps made a personal visit to Oregon on October 23, 2010 to share stories about his writing and wrap up the reader’s theatre series. A very appreciative audience shared coffee and cake after his presentation.

Every month of the year had special programs to celebrate the Centennial. There were additional author visits, teen tech month, poetry jam, pre-school players, series of four storytelling concerts, and the official birthday party on October 9, 2010, attended by over 300 people.

The family entertainment included face painters, a juggler and a balloon artist.

There was a formal dedication ceremony which included a distinguished panel of speakers including the President of the Oregon Village Board Steve Staton, Library Board of Trustees President Lisa Hustad and Wisconsin Senator Jon Erpenbach, who presented Senate citation to the library in honor of the Centennial.

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” -Groucho Marx

Local artist Clarice Christenson presented the library will a lovely hand painted Centennial plate which will hang in the library for the next 100 years.

The most significant Centennial addition to the library was the beautiful new circulation desk built by local wood craftsman Paul Morrison of The Wood Cycle Shop located in Oregon.

The circulation desk was updated to enhance efficiencies and streamline the increasing demands of library circulation.

Paul was able to recycle, rebuild and refinish portions of the old desk into the new. He built new tops and moved the old tops underneath for additional shelving. Pieces of lumber to build the tops of the desk were donated by members of the community. Each piece of wood lumber was identified as to its species, the story behind it and the person or family who donated it to the project. Monetary donations were also greatly appreciated. These generous gifts were recorded in a memorial Centennial Community Desk booklet to honor the Centennial achievement and the community who built it.

The three beautiful mosaic tiles that were added to the front of the desk were designed and built by Cheryl Adams, of Adams Studio.

The Friends of the Library were the major contributors to the desk. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts. The Friends of the Library were originally organized by director Joan Wethal years ago. The library has been getting by with a little help from them ever since. They have been supporting the library landscaping; all of our programming efforts, special furniture, Centennial expenses including the indoor banner and this year a full size puppet stage.

Friends of the Oregon Library Board consist of President Beth Larimer, Vice-President Sue Johnson, Secretary Pat Berkan, June Hanson and Lucy Ruth were Co-Treasurers, Membership Sharon Kopenski, and Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Allen. The Friends currently have 120 members.

In a token of appreciation the library board of trustees presented a plaque to the Friends for their marvelous enthusiasm for books, and their generous and unwavering support. The plaque was present to Beth Larimer, as president of Friends board. All of the Friends who were present were asked to step forward.

Representing the youth of the community and the future of the library were Christian and Gabriella Wirtz. They were each asked to hold the end of the dedication ribbon so the Friends could cut it.

A coffee and cake reception was held, in the Sue Ames Room while talented members of the Oregon High School orchestra entertained with a selection of classical music. Over three hundred pieces of cake were served and every tasty crumb was consumed.

“What is more important in a library than anything else
is the fact that it exists.”    -Archibald MacLeish

There are many people who have supported the library during this Centennial year with their time, money and advice. I would like acknowledge them:

  • Alison Koelsch, the Director of the Oregon Area Senior Center who has been cooking and baking recipes all year for our Centennial reader’s theatre performances of Jerry Apps book “Living a Country Year: Wit and Wisdom from the Good Old Days.”
  • Mike and Erica Weidler from the Firefly Coffeehouse for hosting our storytelling events throughout the year.
  • Staff at WOW and Oregon Cable Access who have filmed all of our events this year.

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap
compared to that of an ignorant nation.”   -Walter Cronkite

The library is supported through tax dollars, Dane county reimbursements and also through donations. We get by with a little help from our friends. It would be impossible accurately name all the individuals who have contributed to the library over the last 100 years.

I would like to acknowledge a few of them.

  • My two predecessors …Joan Wethal and Vicki Cothroll.
  • The Bruning Foundation that helps to cover the cost of databases and newspaper and periodical subscriptions
  • The Faust Family who generously supports the library through the donation sticker program at Bill’s Food Center.
  • The Oregon Observer whose donation helped us purchase the lovely desk lamps.
  • The Wackman Foundation which has been set aside for book purchase.

Thank you to all the people who have donated memorials in honor of a family member who loved the library and all the countless individuals who donated funds to support the collection and special projects.

“If you have a garden and a library,
you have everything you need”    –   Cicero

This year the Friends of the Library funded a new garden bed under the lamp post on Brook St. We also had a little help from our friends at the Oregon Garden Club including Mary Smith, Susan Kosharek, Jack Mitchell, Sandy O’Malley, Susan Shedivy, Barb Stock. They were led by Peg Thomas and Windi Fourdaine. They spent many hot hours working along with the Friends of the Library-June Hanson, and Gerry & Jeanne Neath, to spruce up the outdoor gardens for the Centennial Celebration. They also donated a great many of the beautiful plants along the front of the building.

I would like to thank the Village Board including of the Village Board President Steve Staton, Trustees David Donovan, Eric Poole, Randy Way Darlene Groenier, Jon S. Lourigan, and Philip J. Harms for their continued belief in the importance of a public library, Mike Gracz the Village administrator, Renee Hoeft the finance director and all their staff for their continued support and advice, and the staff of the public works and police departments who have been of assistance in so many ways.

In preparation for the Centennial the library was given a face lift by giving the interior of the building a fresh coat of paint, installing a much needed acoustical ceiling, adding three desk lamps, updating the indoor and outdoor signage, adding library read posters and chair rail to the Sue Ames Room, installing library advocacy quotes in the lobby and decorating with a few indoor plants and beautiful handmade quilts.

The Centennial Celebration could not end without acknowledging the wonderful talent of the dedicated library staff that has worked so hard this year. They have put up with all the planning, painting, rebuilding, removing, rearranging, dust, plastic tarps, and contractors, … all with good humor… always asking how they could help. The management team of Kelly Allen (Youth Services), Judy Collison (Circulation Supervisor), Mary Davidson (Technical Services) and Susan Kosharek (Adult Services).

The support staff has been outstanding in their excellent customer service to the community. They include reference assistants Wendy Borden and Nikki Bolka, circulation team of Cheryl Adams, Rachel Becker, Laura Dewey, Alicia Fisher, Molly Krause, Peg Thomas, Pat Wyman and the library pages consisting of Adam Chisman, Dani Carpenter, Emily Reinicke and Claire Sommers.

What a marvelous year it has been. We are pleased with all that has been accomplished in the last 100 years and look forward with optimism to what the future will hold for our public library.

“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library.
The only entrance requirement is interest.”   – Lady Bird Johnson

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