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By Beka Compton
The Times 

Friends of Weller Public Library discuss future at July 14 meeting


WAITSBURG—The Friends of Weller Public Library gathered at Town Hall with nearly forty community members on July 14, to brainstorm ways to keep Weller Public Library at its current location on Main Street.

President Lisa Winnett said that there was a letter written by the Board of Trustees, to the City of Waitsburg, stating that all library leadership is against moving the library. The city recently purchased the former NW Grain Growers building at the north end of Main Street, with the intention of moving City Hall to the space.

The goals for the success and overall operations of the Weller Public Library center around creating a vibrant, lively space that inspires readers of all ages.

“I would love to see that library be a meeting space for this community,” Winnett siad. “Not just for kids, not just for adults, but for everybody. I am a library fiend, you could say, and I have seen some beautiful ones and we could create that here. We do have some people who would like to see the library stay close to the way it is now, and I understand that, too.”

The Friends of Weller Library reached out to the community via an online survey to develop a better understanding of what changes residents would like to see. The five-minute survey ended July 21.

“We want to know what this community wants for this little library,’” Winnett said. “I want people to think of the big vision, not go small.”

The organization has volunteers currently researching library and historical building grants, to see what options are available to keep the library in the current location, and they will always accept help if someone offers it.

Winnett said that one possible change would be joining the Walla Walla County Rural Library District, which would expand services and book selection, increase support for professional staff, and fund and maintain the library. The downside, Winnett said, is that a new tax would be introduced, and she recognizes that many residents feel overtaxed, as it stands.

If the Weller Public Library were to join the rural library district, the supporting tax would be $0.46 per $1,000; yearly taxes on a $250,000 home would be roughly $115. There would be no additional costs for library cards or services, and cards could be issued as soon as the day following the final vote.

“It’s more exploration,” Winnett said. “To me, it is so worth it. The rural library does a great job providing computers and up-to-date books. Rosie already does a great job providing new books and titles, with the support of the Friends of the Library.”

The next library meeting will be August 28, at the Waitsburg Town Hall.

“We need more people to come, so we can inform people, and hear their thoughts and opinions,” Winnett said, saying she hopes to keep up with the trend of ten new faces per meeting. “I am not stuck in a rut that things have to keep going the way they are. I am all about exploring- that’s why I am so excited about this survey. We get to hear from people and learn what they want.”


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