The mission of Whitman County Library is to be our community's #1 resource for education, recreation and discovery. To fulfill our mission, WCL is committed to serving people in the towns where they live. In an age where many agencies and businesses have pulled out of small towns, Whitman County Library is determined to stay put!
To that end, WCL provides service from fourteen countywide locations, covering 2159 square miles and 16,000 residents. People are often surprised to learn that our district has fourteen towns, let alone fourteen libraries. I thought it would be fun to tell you a little bit about each one.
Albion has contracted with the library since1946, annexing to the district in 1983. The size of most living rooms, Albion offers a full service library with materials and children's programs. Free Internet is the most popular service in this library with users being limited to fifteen minutes insuring that everyone gets a turn.
The Colfax branch has served as the headquarters of operation for Whitman County Library District since our inception in 1946. The Colfax Library building was built in the late fifties and suffers from serious safety and ADA problems. Thanks to generous donations from the community and a variety of funding sources, plans are in place to renovate the building by 2010. In addition, memorial donations honoring young Hayden Klaveano will afford an exciting remodel of the children's area.
The town of Colton contracts with WCL for library service and has done so since 1946 when Mayor Druffel signed the very first contract. Today, children's programs are very popular in Colton, with Summer Reading and a visit from the Palouse Discovery Science Center being a highlight.
Business is booming in our Endicott Branch where circulation rose by 10% last year. The city has been working hard to make repairs and replace the roof. Because each town is responsible for the maintenance of its library building, costs like these can be staggering to these small communities.
Farmington is the smallest town served by Whitman County Library with a population of just 153 people. The library is open just eight hours per week and shares a space with the town hall. We are especially excited to announce that First Step Internet is bringing wireless Internet to the library and the community, helping ease the isolation of this small town.
Garfield began contracting with WCL in 1958. Just this fall, voters approved annexation into the library district helping to ease city finances and insuring quality library service for years to come. Besides great programs for children, the Garfield librarian regularly visits the LaDow Retirement Facility delivering materials and services.
The Lacrosse library boasts the highest per capita readership of adult literature in Whitman County while circulation in this tiny town of 340 also grew by 10% last year. Just last week, the Library Book Bear tossed candy to eager children in the Lacrosse parade.
Our newest branch, Malden began operating in 2004. Although there are already 100 people using library cards, this isolated town of 215 is struggling to make its yearly payment for service. The Malden Booster Club is seeking grants and donations to fund library services for the coming year.
Oakesdale began contracting for library service in 1958. Today the library is housed in a site formerly operated as a bank. Summer Reading children love to visit the giant metal safe that doubles as a storage area.
The Palouse Library started in 1920 with Xenodican Club members soliciting donations, a permanent location and volunteer staff. Today the Xenodicans are still the heart of the Palouse Library, supporting its programs through fundraisers and work parties. A full history of the Palouse Library can be found on our website
The Rosalia Library is dear to my heart as this is where my library career began 20 years ago. Thanks to donations, volunteers and community support, the library has moved to a bigger, main street location with an adjoining park area ideal for summer children's programs.
St. John recently unveiled a brand new library/city hall building with the tight-knit community working hard to raise funds for its completion. The building's architect Robert Zimmer says his design was inspired by his childhood in Colfax and the countless hours he spent in that library. Visit the library's website to view photos of library moving day and the beautiful new library.
The Tekoa Library annexed to Whitman County Library with an 80% approval in 2005. One of our busiest locations, the Tekoa Library shares a space with the town's museum. In a cooperative effort, WCL has recently digitized more than 400 items from their collection. These are now found on the Secretary of State’s website .
WCL has been in partnership with Uniontown since 1946, providing library service to this community of 345 people. I look forward to attending their town council next week in an effort to find the best location, hours and services for their library. As you can see, it is through community partnerships that Whitman County Library achieves its mission.