Let’s talk about libraries for a moment. If you’re registered to vote in Tillamook County, you have a week left to turn in your ballot, which has a number of issues of local importance.

One of those is Measure 29-164, which authorizes a renewal of the 5-year levy that supports the library network in Tillamook County. It’s unchanged from the previous levy — still 65 cents for every $1000 of assessed value.

This levy goes to support all the libraries in our county: Tillamook main, South County in Pacific City, Garibaldi, Rockaway Beach, Bay City, and North County in Manzanita. That reflects the size of the county — 1,333 square miles of mountains, beaches, pasture land, and the towns and cities that dot this patch of the northern Oregon Coast.

I had a chance to connect recently with Jean Scholtz, president of the Rockaway Beach Library Board, who had some great information about all the services the library provides, plus a few new ones coming soon.

Most people are familiar with the basic principle of a library: you borrow a book, return it when you’re done, all without spending a nickel. Whether your taste runs to fiction, literature, how-to guides, or research, it’s a phenomenal bargain.

But Jean reminded me that the library offers more than just books and periodicals. “The library should be commended for the online services it offered the community during the pandemic – including WIFI access, movies and books available online,” she wrote to me.

She didn’t need to remind me about the value of the library’s wifi access.

When we were closing on our Rockaway Beach home in 2017, the library was a key place for us to connect to our financial institutions and our lenders. We were able to print copies of documents that had to be signed (in ink on paper, imagine that!), using the library’s facilities. It was much easier than fighting the traffic to and from Portland several times a week.

I had not known, however, that as Jean informed me, the library also maintains “a library of things that can be checked out (fishing poles, telescopes, and many other interesting items.)” That sounds like something to investigate when our grandchildren come to the Oregon Coast over the summer. And Jean added, “Soon, librarians will be able to notarize documents for you.”

Rockaway Beach Library is a branch library of the Tillamook system. This means that the county library provides the books, the librarian, and all the services offered. These are the services that Measure 29-164 will fund for  the next five years.

In addition, the library board is making plans for a new sign for the library, pending approval of the levy. “We are keeping the old historic sign but need a new one higher on the building so it can be seen from the street,” wrote Jean. “We are also working on getting some art work to display in the library.”

Beyond that, though, our library’s building maintenance, cleaning, and landscaping are funded separately by the Friends of the Rockaway Beach Library and the City of Rockaway Beach. The Friends of the Rockaway Beach Library is a nonprofit (503c) organization, supported by membership. Membership is $10 a year. Further support comes from “donations and book sales of used books donated by the community,” Jean wrote. I donated a number of our older cookbooks to the library when we moved here, downsizing from the fourbedroom home in Tualatin where my kids grew up and moved away from, to the place we call the “Tiny Beach Cottage” here in Rockaway.

Jean added, “We will be having a book sale on July 2 this year.” With the return of the fireworks, the parade, and the Wiener Dog Races, the  weekend of the Fourth is shaping up to be busy and exciting. You might find some great cookbooks, if they haven’t already been snapped up. And

I hope to see some of you there!

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