February 13, 2018 4:50 a.m.
Residents of the City of Roseburg are one step closer to having the library re-open, following Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Councilors heard the first reading of an ordinance that would establish the Roseburg Public Library and create a library commission. The ordinance says the library will be financed by a combination of general fund monies, revenue from operating the library, and grants, gifts and donations that are designated for library purposes. The ordinance also says financing could include any tax levies that may be authorized as well.
The Library Commission, like other city commissions, will be an advisory group, and will make recommendations to the City Council regarding rules, regulations and policies for how the library is operated among other duties.
The council is set to have second reading and adoption of the ordinance at its next meeting in two weeks. If approved, it will go into effect on March 1st. City Manager Lance Colley told councilors the city would then advertise for members of the commission with the hopes that the group could begin meeting late in the spring. One city councilor will have to be selected to chair the commission as well.
Colley said the next several council meetings will likely have library related items on each agenda. He said the hope is to still get the library re-opened this summer. That will depend on whether agreements with the Douglas Education Service District can be finalized and whether a contractor can remodel the building by that time. The ESD is interested in using part of the former Douglas County Headquarters Library building for office space, and helping to pay for the operation of the building as well.
The Headquarters Library closed May 31st, 2017 after voters rejected a proposal to create a county library district which would levy taxes to pay for libraries and Douglas County Commissioners said the county could no longer afford to fund the operation of the libraries due to shrinking revenue.
Most all of the branch libraries in the county have since re-opened with limited hours, and are in most cases, ran solely by volunteers. Given the size of the former headquarters library building and the number of books in its collection, City of Roseburg officials have said staff will be needed to operate the facility, though volunteers will likely be used to help in some roles as well.