For Cannon Beach Gazette
Last month this column praised volunteers and donors whose contributions have allowed our nonprofit, private library to provide Cannon Beach and Arch Cape with library and information services for 90 years.
Message received, judging from the success of this month’s Fourth of July Book Sale. Library patrons donated hundreds of books in the two weeks before this major fundraiser. Fully 64 volunteers staffed the sale, including four Coaster Construction employees and their serious truck that moved thousands of books warehoused in Judy and Doug Wood’s basement to the Cannon Beach Library. This record-breaking sale raised a $8,235 to fund future book acquisitions and other library expense, including e-books.
Today’s column highlights two library services, interlibrary loan and e-books. Both extend patron access to thousands of titles otherwise unavailable at the library.
For six years Jeremy Randolph, a library member and desk volunteer, has helped patrons obtain titles through his work with interlibrary loan services at the Seaside Library.
“Cannon Beach has a very good reading library,” Randolph notes, “but it’s impossible to have everything. Interlibrary loan makes it possible to get nearly anything in Cannon Beach from throughout the United States.” He credits Connie Word, who manages interlibrary loan requests at Seaside, for the success of this service.
“She does an excellent job, and most of the work, for us,” Randolph says. “Our part is pretty simple. A person comes on to a title we don’t have, fills out a short form, gives it to me, and I go online and order it. If it’s in Seaside, the item will arrive within 24 hours. Books at Astoria take a couple of days, and titles from elsewhere can take as long as two weeks, sometimes longer if arcane.”
Jeremy describes this volunteer work as “the art of the possible,” but this former prosecuting attorney, judge and historian considers ILL an essential library service.
“We want to make this library as complete as possible; interlibrary loan is part of that,” he says. “And I don’t mind being pressured to do more; volunteering here keeps me sane in the winter when I can’t garden.
“It was my dying mother’s wish that I get involved in volunteering after retiring,” Randolph says, but he cites patron reactions as motivating his ILL work.
“People smile when they get their books,” Jeremy continues, flashing his own smile. “I get thank-you notes. It’s fun to see people happy, and the Seaside staff is a fun group to work with, too.”
For even faster access to thousands of titles, patrons can exploit the Oregon Digital Library Consortium, a network the library joined in 2015 with funding from an anonymous donor. Recently increased fundraising lets the library devote $3,500 annually to continue this service.
“Patrons are taking note of e-books, but we hope use expands with increased publicity and as desk volunteers receive more information,” says library board president Phyllis Bernt. “Through the e-books system, patrons easily download current and classic books and audiobooks to their computers, tablets or smart phones.
“We don’t see this as replacing our physical book collection but as a complementary service,” Phyllis adds, echoing Randolph’s justification for ILL services. “The library wants patrons to benefit from a service most libraries now consider standard.”
To set up an e-book account, ask a desk volunteer or call the library to obtain your patron number and information about downloading the e-book app to your electronic device. Then access the library’s website, click on the “Library2go” button, enter your patron identification when prompted and select titles to download.
Cannon Beach Reads, led by Bob Lundy, discusses Voltaire’s “Candide” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, at the library. First published in 1759, this satire targets authority figures of the Enlightenment; examines the problem of evil and mocks Leibniz’s optimism regarding “this best of all possible worlds.” Come for the discussion and savor cookies and coffee.
Finally, Brett Willyard’s Magic Show returns to the library at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 28. Last summer Willyard, who ran track at Seaside High and the University of Oregon, packed the library, mesmerizing both toddlers and graybeards.