The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., December 30, 1915, page 1

Building Is Shown To Visitors
County Institution Was Made Possible by Work of the Local Woman's Club - Campaign Begun in 1908.

     When local people are entertaining relatives or friends from distant points, they are prone to speak with apology of their courthouse, of which a decade ago was the community's principal schoolhouse. While the former seat of learning suffices as for the local temple of justice, Hood River citizens dream of the day when an imposing structure of dark gray granite, quarried from local ledges may grace this sitely eminence, location of the old building.
     "As a county," the typical of Hood River man or woman will tell you, "we are in our infancy. Hood River county was only formed, from a portion of Wasco, six years ago. But, just take a look at our library building."
     The Hood River county library, constructed of red brick in the spring of 1914 with a fund of $17,500 secured from the Carnegie library fund, and standing as it does among a grove of ancient oak trees, is a source of pride to the Hood River people. Even those who have looked unfavorably on the taxes levied for the support and maintenance of the institution do not deny a feeling of pride that is theirs when showing the town to visitors.
     The Hood River county library can be traced primarily to the work of the Women's club. One of the hardest workers for the institution in its early days was Mrs. Chas. H. Castner, now president of the Oregon Federation of Woman's clubs. The women began the movement in 1908. From that time until the day of the building was first occupied their campaign was unflagging. In 1911 the Woman's club applied to the city council for the establishment of a city library. The request was granted, and with some of the $700 appropriated for the purchase of books the first library of the community was opened in the building owned by E.L. Smith. Miss Della Northey was secured as librarian.
     During the early part of 1913 the following library board took action toward securing funds from the Carnegie corporation for the construction of a county Institution: L.H. Huggins, J.O. McLaughlin, Dr. F.C. Brosius, J.P. Luca, Miss Mary McLaren and Mrs. William Stewart.
     With Miss McLaren as president, the Woman's club set to work to raise the sum of $2,000, with which was purchased a portion of the old home place of the E.L. Smith. Mr. Smith donating toward a fund the sum of $800, giving $200 for each of his four daughters, Mrs. William Stewart and Mrs. J.F. Watt, of this city; Mrs. O.J. Nelson, of Seattle, and Mrs. Elmer Rand, of Portland. The three members of the county court at that time, Judge Geo. D. Culbertson and Commissioners O.H. Rhoades and G.A. McCurdy, were made members of the library board. The structure was completed in March, 1914.
     The staff of the library today consists of Miss Alice See, librarian; Miss Ethel Goudy, of Portland, first assistant, and Miss Dorcas DeWitt, second assistant. Miss See is a graduate of the New York Library Training school, of Albany, of N.Y. She came here from Des Moines, Ia., where she was engaged in the library of Drake University.
     Branch libraries are now maintained at the following five community centers throughout the county: Odell, Parkdale, Cascade Locks, Mount Hood and Dee. A building is rented to house the Cascade Locks branch, and the people of Parkdale have erected a small branch library building. More than 500 copies have been donated the latter branch institution.
     Traveling libraries are sent to each of the branch stations at intervals. The books are of a general nature and they may be kept for a period of three months. Miss See visits the branch stations as often as possible, in order to keep in touch with the needs of the different communities. Miss See is also county school librarian and in conjunction with County Superintendent Thompson selects the books for each school district. Exclusive of public reference works and documents, the total number of volumes in the institution now reaches 4,675. The registered readers of the county number 3,260, and the circulation has made a rapid increase since 1911, when books taken for home reading reached the number of the 15,833. The figure for the past year has been 26,607.
     Miss See says that the reference and reading room attendance shows a marked increase for the past few months. It has doubled that of the same period for last year.
     The people have learned the value of the library as an educational and reference institution. Citizens have begun to make frequent use of the books on its shelves to settle questions that have arisen in their minds over the European war, national issues and problems that pertain to state and county affairs.
     The feature of the library that never fails to make an appeal to the man or woman who loves children is the large space that has been devoted to the reading corner for the little folks. Round tables for little tots that are not able to read, but love to look at picture books, have been provided. The picture which these little boys and girls make as they sit in their little chairs, whispering to each other over some colored illustrations of a nursery rhyme or fairy story justifies the existence of the Hood River county library.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer