LINCOLN COUNTY — Residents in communities to the north and south of Lincoln City now have easier access to library books, thanks to a new program from Driftwood Public Library.
Free and easy to use, any day of the week, these “free libraries” are placed in public spaces and hold donated books which residents are free to take, return, share or keep at no charge.
“For us, the push was to make library materials available to patrons who are unable to come into the library or get a library card,” said Star Khan, Driftwood’s outreach Services coordinator. “While our community is wonderfully unique, the physical layout of our town can be a barrier for accessing the library. Patrons living out in Otis and Rose Lodge, especially the elderly, can have a hard time getting into town and there is not regular bus service to/from these outlying areas. Patrons with no ID or physical residence are unable to get a library card. This is especially true for the portion of our population experiencing homelessness.”
The solution to that problem was a simple question: why not bring the library to them?
“It was just another way that we thought to expand our reach within the community,” said Khan.
There were already seven Driftwood Little Libraries in Lincoln City, which have been decorated to look like small houses on posts. The new outreaching free library shelves share the same concept but lie a bit further out of town.
In early May, Driftwood announced the northern free libraries which are housed at the Otis Market, Knight’s Tackle Box and the Salmon River Grange Hall.
After using Facebook to gather feedback from Depoe Bay residents on where to place the shelves, two free libraries were installed at the end of last month: one at Nava’s Market at the south end of town and one at Chester’s Thriftway on the north end. Khan told the News-Times that the library is working on setting up a shelf inside Pirate Coffee Company as well.
“All the feedback I have gotten has been awesome,” said Khan. “Out in Rose Lodge, people would leave me notes saying how much they loved this program … Everyone has been so thankful that Driftwood is providing this service and more and more folks are asking to find places for free library shelves in their area. It's pretty awesome.”