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Rockaway Beach Library celebrates 20th birthday

The Friends of the Rockaway Library (FOL) will celebrate their 20th birthday on Saturday, July 6 from noon until 2 p.m. See how this library branch has transformed from a Woman’s Club to a full-service community library.

Hilary Dorsey
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Back in 1925, the Rockaway Beach Woman’s Club was organized by 13 women. Membership grew to 75 members in 1955 and the group contributed time and money to many projects, including making plans for the grand opening of the Natatorium, getting drinking fountains installed, repairing sidewalks, and more. They held annual flower shows and by 1952, five hundred people attended.

Gradually over time, membership declined, and in 1996, they disbanded and donated the clubhouse at 120 N Coral for a community library and thus, the Friends of the Library, Inc. was organized and fundraising began. Initial costs for the project were $56,000 and the citizens came together to get the needed money. The grand opening was on July 3, 1999. According to Sara Beeler, who was involved in the FOL, half of the women died before the grand opening. It was held with a local band, dignitaries from the city, county and state were present, and hundreds of baby scissors were passed out for the ribbon cutting.

“They made it happen,” said Beeler.

The birthday will be celebrated at the Rockaway Beach library with live entertainment, cake donated by Fred Meyer’s, cookies, a book bag sale, and more. As always, the library offers free Wi-Fi, over 600 items a month, including DVD’s to check out, books, and magazines; computer usage, printers, and various classes and events throughout the year for kids and adults. There will also be a book sale starting before the birthday bash at 10 a.m. and will last until the bash ends at 2 p.m. This sale will have half-priced books and bags of books for purchase for only $5 per bag.

This birthday bash will be the biggest bash the library has seen, according to Gail Kessinger, Vice-president of FOL. The library used to celebrate its birthday every year, but after their 10th year, they only celebrated every couple of years. Kessinger says she has been involved with FOL for 15 years and was the president but was ready to step down to a vice-president role.

Kessinger says that the Tillamook Main library has always been supportive of the Rockaway Beach location, giving them their books and staff members. Donations are always welcomed and needed.  The FOL is responsible for all building maintenance, landscape, code upkeep, cleaning and maintenance supplies, and they are currently saving for roof replacement and a new heat pump. Beeler says that the FOL made payments and that the library is looking good.

Come join the birthday bash and celebrate this wonderful library that is close to the hearts of so many in Rockaway Beach and surrounding areas.

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