A group of neighbors has rallied around increasing the use of the East Side Library to keep the branch from closing, partly by collecting money to cover some of the outstanding fines that prevent current library card holders from borrowing books.
On Saturday, the East Side Library Access Project is having a party at the library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be food, music and drawings for books and other prizes throughout the day.
“The goal is to get more people to begin utilizing the East Side Library,” said Louise Chadez, one of the people behind the grass-roots effort. “The reason why they were going to close the branch is that they say it is the least utilized branch, so we figure we’ll get some more people to use it.”
The other library branch on the cutting block was Indian Trail.
Indian Trail lends out more books than East Side, but almost four times as many people use computers at East Side compared to Indian Trail.
“It’s a computer lifeline for the neighborhood,” said Chadez.
Spokane Public Library has agreed to forgive half of any outstanding library fine at the East Side branch, up to $10, if the other half is paid for by donated money.
Chadez did not know how much money has been raised so far, but she said most of it comes from individuals.
“I know there’s some money already,” said Chadez. “And I know they’ve talked to neighborhood businesses and other groups.”
Librarian Susie Burns at nearby Sheridan Elementary School has been rallying kids from her own school and Grant Elementary School to come to the party.
Children who would like to sign up for a new library card must bring a parent or guardian with a picture ID.
The waiver program only applies to fines, not to lost items.
“We are hoping to fund the waivers through the end of the school year,” said Chadez.