There’s no place like home. Dorothy Gale in the book the Wizard of Oz said this phrase three times as she clicked her heels together and wished to be sent home to Kansas from the mysterious yet dangerous land of Oz. Often when people are traveling they wish for a place like home and there is no better place that feels close to home than visiting your local library. People love the library because it truly does feel like a home away from home. Wander into any library, there is a good chance you will find a cozy area to sit with a book or quietly work on your laptop using the free Wi-Fi. According to Mason Cooley, Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. But everyone remembers their favorite book and that can give a sense of home and belonging no matter where you go.
As we prepare to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Seaside Public Library being in the Donald E. Larson building at 1131 Broadway here in Seaside, I’m reminded of the library’s humble beginnings in the first public bathroom in the city. The matron of the public bathrooms back in 1913 made sure the bathrooms were neat and clean and also took care of the reading room both for visitors arriving off the train from Portland and Seaside residents alike. Since then, Seaside Library has moved over five or six times in the past one hundred and five years. Some of the places included in the Moose building, the Soldiers and Sailors Club during World War I, and on Roosevelt in the building that holds Cleanline Surf Shop. The last location of the library on Roosevelt was where the Surf Shop is now. The library was built in the 1960’s and upgraded in the 1980’s. People kept using the library more and more and the library was outgrowing the space. Programs included everything from baby chicks at storytime to summer reading programs but there was simply no space for anything larger than 20 people meeting together in the building and it was time to grow.
The library director Reita Fackerell started looking around for a new place for the library and thanks to her work and that of the Friends of the library working tirelessly along with numerous other volunteers and community members, the idea of a new library took shape. Thanks to this group of library loving citizens, a tremendous amount of work happened to fundraise and promote moving the library. In 2007, the new Library property was purchased and the official groundbreaking happened on November 2007. Mayor Don Larson was instrumental in helping get the new library building project going and was there for the groundbreaking on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007.
Sadly, he passed away before celebrating the 10-year anniversary with us but I am sure he would have been overjoyed to see us celebrating ten years in the building. We honor his memory with the building having been named in his honor in 2017. In September of 2008 the new Library officially opened. Hard to believe, but the Seaside Public Library has now been open at 1131 Broadway for ten years and we are celebrating that anniversary during the week of September 18th. We will be holding a Love Your Library event all week with craft events, giveaway prizes, and live music in the library. We will also be holding an anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 22nd at 2pm, everyone is welcome and cake and light refreshments will be provided. We would love you to come and celebrate the library both past and present with your memories of what you love about the library both in the current building as well as the other building of the past and please come and enjoy the “Love Your Library” week long events. You can also view our new quilt show, “Quilter’s Choice,” which is now on display in the library’s lobby and community room.
Esther Moberg is executive director of the Seaside Library.