Library marks 10 years

Ten-year-old Kaylee Martin and her mom Michele Martin browse the book selection at Liberty Lake Library on Tuesday. The library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. (Kathy Plonka)
Ten-year-old Kaylee Martin and her mom Michele Martin browse the book selection at Liberty Lake Library on Tuesday. The library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. (Kathy Plonka)

Facility has become key part of life in Liberty Lake

This summer, patrons of the Liberty Lake Library have been on the waiting list to read “Game of Thrones,” by George R. R. Martin and “Second Honeymoon,” by James Patterson. Children have been diving into the summer reading program and adults have signed up for computer classes.

It’s business as usual.

What’s not usual is the celebration planned July 13 to mark the library’s 10th anniversary.

“We’ve become a real community center,” said director Pamela Mogen.

Mogen said when the city was in its infancy 10 years ago, the community had formed a library council and was discussing whether to join the Spokane County Library District. There was a small library originally formed in 2001. Mogen said the local feeling was to keep their library independent, and taxpayers in the city now pay 50 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value to operate the library.

She was hired in December 2003 and began working in the 3,200-square-foot library then housed in the Liberty Building. The next library employee hired was Georgette Rogers, now the circulation supervisor.

“We were it for about a year,” Rogers said.

“This library never had a card catalogue,” Mogen said. They started out with computers for patrons to find the books they wanted. They wrote receipts by hand for late-book fines and had only one computer for check out.

Over the years, the library grew and in February 2009, moved to its present location, at 23123 E. Mission Ave.

When the economy took a turn for the worse, the library received a $20,000 federal grant to open a jobs and career center. There are computers with a dedicated color printer for patrons to print out résumés they created using special software. There are books and videos and other resource materials.

In the past 10 years, the way people read has changed, shifting from the physical books to e-books.

“We got into e-books as soon as we possibly could,” Mogen said. At the beginning, the cost of getting e-books was prohibitive for smaller libraries – a minimum of $21,000 for the subscription service that delivers them. Liberty Lake’s library joined a consortium of other libraries to ease the cost.

Mogen also said there are many books in the public domain that have been transferred to e-book format and are available for free through the Gutenberg Project.

In recent months, the library has undergone a transformation. The front door now has a portico to protect visitors from the weather and the front has been painted a dark cherry red. New benches were installed last week and Mogen said they are getting a second bike rack.

During the anniversary celebration, the library will have a ceremonial unveiling of its new mural. If you look closely at the large photograph of people at Pavillion Park, it is made up of 25,000 smaller pictures of people and places in Liberty Lake from the Splash newspaper. Businesses and people purchased tiles of the mural as a fundraiser.

The mural reflects the role the library has in Liberty Lake.

“We’re an important part of life in Liberty Lake,” she said. “The library has experienced tremendous community support.”

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