Between the support of two separate non-profits and the backing of the city, the Seaside Library is growing and thriving. “It is a priority to the community,” Assistant Library Director Jon Burke explains. “We have unbelievable support.” The Seaside Public Library Foundation assists in making the library’s long-term vision come true. The foundation ran its first annual fundraiser in 2017, Write On Seaside!, featuring the Little Libraries Auction.
The Friends of the Seaside Library supports the organization’s plethora of programming. According to their annual report, The library ran 252 events last year with over 7,000 participants. For all ages and interests, the author visits, crafts, speakers and games pique the curiosity of Clatsop County residents far and wide. “We have programs people want to come to, some may say the library’s a snoozer, but it’s not!” Jon exclaims while listing a few examples of their Teen Tuesday events including giant checkers and a Young Adult book version of Cupcake Wars.
Marian Rose, the Children and Youth Librarian, is the steam behind the engine, Esther Moburg, Library Director explains. “She is invested and has great ideas, she just hit the ground running,” Esther says of Rose’s start several years ago. Between storytime and children directed events at the library she also finds time to visit the area schools. She runs book clubs at Seaside Middle School and visits each K-12 building during the year to share about the benefits of the library, including the Rural Outreach to Clatsop County (ROCC) program. This program grants every child age 0-19 a library card for free, regardless of their address.
Local schools are able to take advantage of the library’s offerings too. Even teachers use their resources to enrich lessons. Erica Hiatt, Seaside Heights Elementary 1st grade teacher, says she utilizes the children’s section throughout the school year. “Every time I come in, its improved,” she says pointing out the puppet show booth and new book area. She says she visits to check out dozens of books at a time for read-alouds and to supplement her units. It gives her students an opportunity to read independently about the subject matter on their level she explains.
Seaside Library’s size and influence for a small coastal town, makes it unique. With a population of about 7,000, 98% of Seaside residents check out items using their library card. With over 56,000 books, movies and magazines, according to the library’s annual report, there is something for everyone. This number far surpasses other area libraries, as does Seaside’s annual visits. Seaside residents visited the library more than 187,000 times last year. This is due to the programming, atmosphere and the selection. “We have books you would never expect a library of our size to have, thanks to Dan,” Jon Burke explains. Dan Cawley, the materials acquisition librarian, has been finding great books for Seaside for over 20 years.
Just like residents of Seaside, the employees of the library are avid readers, too. They crave the smell of a book just cracked from the shelf and want to spread that passion to their visitors.“We have a wide range of readers on staff,” Esther explains, so the variety of book reviews and new arrivals caters to all. Jon Burke says he enjoys checking out the new arrivals, “I get excited for new stuff in fiction, especially mystery.” Esther’s favorite genres are fantasy and mystery, too. “I prefer the page, the physical form,” she says of her book choice, but points out that the library has 42,000 books available to consumers on Library2Go, through the Oregon Digital Library Consortium for those who enjoy the ease of technology.
“The community loves this library,” says Esther “Its a community space, people come in to do job searches and business, read the paper, just enjoy.” This summer, residents will be crowding in for the annual Summer Reading program. This year’s theme, “Libraries Rock” kicked off with a sock hop dance and will continue to jam throughout the summer with events and activities for all ages.