October 4, 2022

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City Council praises Eugene Public Library for ‘promises made, promises kept’

4 min read
City Council members praised the Eugene Public Library's additional service to the public throughout the pandemic.

City Council members praised the Eugene Public Library's additional service to the public throughout the pandemic.

Audio

Will O’Hearn gave an update on the Eugene Public Library to the City Council. What did they think?

[00:00:07] City Councilor Randy Groves: Thank you, Will. And thank you to the staff of the library. I think you’ve actually taken it to a much higher level and provide absolute value to this community and for that I’m really appreciative. Another thing that really resonated with me, you termed, ‘Promises made and promises kept.’ I think that that should be a lens that we look at with all of our additional monies that we bring in for projects. I know it’s worked well for our road bonds. It’s obviously working well for you at the library. I think that’s something we need to look at with CSI expenditures. That’s part of what helps us, credibility with the public. And that’s what helps us continue to be able to have the resources we need to provide the services. So I really want to highlight that and thank you for weaving that into your presentation again.

[00:00:57] City Councilor Emily Semple: From my window, I am looking at the front door of the library, so I can tell you it is used quite a bit. And for a huge range of the population, you have so many needs. It’s fascinating to me how, like Sarah growing up, the library was a magical place of books. I lived in books. (It tells you a lot about my social life.) And it has totally (still, thank you for the books, but) shifted to really being the community center. I’d like more community centers, but this is it’s vital and that you it’s more than information. The outreach to our people and the help with getting jobs and connections to the wi-fi stations, the charging stations. If you don’t have a house, you even more have to have a phone and a phone is no good if it isn’t charged. I’m incredibly grateful for the hot spots for students, for families that just can’t afford it.

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[00:01:58] And for the vulnerable, I know people in safe spots who have taken the hot spots out. The whole camp benefits and they return them. That’s just a huge thing to be taking care of. And the Maker Space, I’ve, once I saw it, when I started being Councilor, I just wanted to live over there, but I haven’t had the time (and I’ve advocated for moving up to the fourth floor, get that Central Services out of there and let us go make things), so being able to lend the equipment so that people can continue to use it. And that has now reached out to a whole bunch of people who couldn’t use it before, because they couldn’t come to the Maker Space, similar to we’re now on Zoom somedays. I hope in person also. So in some ways it’s a little bit of a silver lining, how much the library has supported everyone and contributes to our growth as a community. And I thank you so very much.

[00:03:01] City Councilor Matt Keating: Shakespeare said, I believe in King Lear: ‘Men are as the times are,’ and the library is as the times are. A 25 percent increase in digital electronic resources, the 500 hotspots is tremendous. In particular, providing wi-fi for persons in need to access internet for personal or professional, or as a Councilor Semple alluded to, connecting to vital services here in our community. That’s so key. I did not know that that our library was giving out the most amount of hotspots than any library or entity in the state. That’s front-page material. Kudos.

[00:03:43] I also want to thank Will for joining our neighborhood association recently and somewhat one of the greatest ideas to come out of that conversation was a South Eugene drop-off to kind of prevent or reduce our carbon footprint and provide a pathway for folks to drop off books maybe at the Amazon Center. Is that feasible in the foreseeable future?

[00:04:04] Library Director Will O’Hearn: We had talked about that pre-pandemic. That was something we had talked about, worked out with the courier system and talked to him about putting them in Amazon and a couple other community centers. Something that come up recently, last week it came up, and it re-sparked interest in that, because we are a community support organization and community center. And so we’re hearing from our community, that’s something that they looking for. And so we’re hoping to re-engage in that, hoping we can work something out again to make sure it still works within the way the pandemic processes and things like that. So, yeah, definitely interested in making it easier for folks to return books. Yeah, that’s definitely on our map.

[00:04:38] John Q: Will said to watch for a survey, asking what you want in the Library Of Your Future.

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