The Keizer Community Library will nearly double in size and expand hours as part of upcoming changes at the Keizer Heritage Center.
In the meantime the library is closed until Monday, February 13. Upon reopening the library will be open on selected evenings and Sundays for the first time. New hours will be as follows:
• Mondays 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
• Tuesday-Thursday 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
• Fridays 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Sundays 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Library Director Steve Prothero said the all-volunteer library has grown to the point that it’s bursting at the seams: Not enough room for their books, too little space for public Internet access, no comfortable places to sit, no ideal place for children to relax and learn. It relies solely on membership dues and other donations to survive; its modest stipend from the City of Keizer was eliminated several years ago in a round of budget cuts.
In the move their space will double from 625 square feet to about 1,350. The library will expand into the area where the Keizer Heritage Museum is, and the museum will move elsewhere in the building.
“We get lots of donations, and we can’t shelve everything we would like to shelf,” Prothero said. “There’s no space here.”
The strategy so far has been to focus on keeping popular items in stock, but Prothero believes the expansion will allow them to keep in stock less popular items, like reference materials, that are nevertheless part and parcel of a library.
“When you’re a library person you see all these wonderful reference works – we get all kinds of offers to donate them but they don’t circulate as well,” Prothero said.
But if you’re more interested in Anne Rice than atlases and almanacs, don’t worry: The expansion will also allow the library to stock more copies of their most popular works.
A children’s area will allow for a regular storytime program to develop. And one of the most important elements is expanding Internet access to the public. They have public wi-fi, as does the Keizer Civic Center nearby, for anyone with a laptop.
But Prothero wants to do more to serve residents who don’t have Internet-connected computers at home.
”We have a lot of people who come in and are looking for jobs, or to work on resumes,” Prothero said.
It’s all part of a reorganization at the heritage center, housed in the former Keizer School. The building houses the museum, Keizer Art Association, Keizer Chamber of Commerce, the library and offices for Keizer Young Life.
Sue Miletta, a member of the museum’s board, said moving into the chamber’s former offices gives them modest room to expand, but has lots more wall space for hanging items of local historical interest.
“We’ll play it by ear, but we have no specific complaints,” Miletta said.
It will allow the museum to establish a separate research area, she said.