Westport Library Turns This Many (5)

Background

Today’s Westport Timberland Library

Before opening in a new building on December 5, 2006, the Westport Timberland Library was the smallest library in the 27-branch Timberland Regional Library District, a diminutive 950 square feet. At 2880 square feet, the library at 101 E Harms Drive is three times the size of the old one.

“The first thing people notice is how bright, open and welcoming the library is. People can navigate the aisles, find things, and linger,” said Kathleen Ringenberg, the Westport Timberland Library manager.

  • Triple the space, from 950 to 2880 square feet
  • A meeting room for library programs and for community groups to meet free of charge
  • · Spacious and well-lit environment with high ceilings and many windows
  • · Three catalog computers, an addition of one station
  • · A self-checkout computer
  • · Nautical design befitting its setting and a spacious, well-lit, comfortable interior
  • Wide aisles for easy navigation
  • Separate adult reading, children’s and teen areas
  • Four Internet/MS Office PCs, twice the number of the old library
  • New shelving with room for all of the library’s materials, including the reference books
  • Better access from the parking lot to the front door and a covered entryway

“Imagination, enthusiasm and sheer determination built this new library,” Ringenberg said in 2006. “The organizing and fundraising work of the Friends of the Library and the Friends’ LEAP (Library Expansion Action Program) Committee was key to getting a beautiful and spacious new library built. And the support of community groups, businesses, individuals and the Timberland library system brought it to completion.”

Westport’s previous libraries

1930s, 40s, and 50s: Westport had bookmobile service from the Grays Harbor County Library System.

1963: Westport’s population had grown to 1,000 and the City of Westport opened a temporary library in a former fire station building in the marina area.

1964: The City opened a permanent library, designed by architect Robert Street, in a portion of the City Hall building. This library served the community for the next 40 years. During those years the population tripled and electronic library technology was developing dramatically. The facility was overcrowded and delivering complete modern library services had become a challenge.

1989: The Friends of the Westport Timberland Library, a non-profit organization, established a building fund to hold memorial gifts, donations and proceeds from book and bake sales, raffles, and craft sales. The purpose was to raise funds to expand the library located in City Hall.

2001: A cross-section of stakeholders—representatives of the Westport Library Board, Friends of the Westport Timberland Library, the City of Westport, Timberland Regional Library (TRL), business people and residents—met to discuss the feasibility of the project. The City approved it and TRL selected the Westport library as one of its capital campaign projects.

April 2002: With about $30,000 in their building fund, the Friends of the Westport Timberland Library formed the LEAP Committee to raise money. As grants and donations began coming in, architectural drawings were developed.

Late in 2003: Victor Druzianich offered property at Harms Drive and Montesano Street to the Friends group. A new stand-alone library building was now a possibility.

December 2005: Construction began.

December 9, 2006: The library was dedicated during a grand opening celebration.

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