Director's Blog: June update

Submitted by A. Shelley on

YOU are welcome here

June is Pride Month, when we specifically celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to our libraries as authors, performers, staff, and patrons. That includes highlighting their work through displays, newsletters, book lists, programs, and other avenues to increase awareness and honor their place in our culture and communities as outlined in our Equity Policy. We do not shy away from promoting stories, ideas, or interests that may not appeal to everyone who uses the library. We never assume that all books will appeal to all readers.

Lately, the discourse in our country has become very heated, and at times extremely ugly, including here in southwest Washington, over books and programs featuring LGBTQ+ characters and content. Over the past few years, FVRLibraries has been attacked for supporting the Vancouver Community Library’s three programs in 2019 that featured a drag queen as a guest reader. The controversy over those programs remains, mostly from individuals who did not attend, and who rely on secondhand information from others to fuel their anger. In the end, these critics miss the most important point—that anytime anyone reads to a child, it’s a good thing.

As hard as this chapter in my career has been, I find there is cause for hope. Starting late last year, we saw a marked increase in individuals speaking at our Board meetings in favor of intellectual freedom and diverse programming. I can’t tell you how much that has meant to me personally, to see individuals stand up for both the LGBTQ+ community and the public library. By saying this, I am not implying that everyone has to agree, but I do think we have an obligation to respectfully listen to each other. In the end, we all want kids in our community to grow up to be readers, learn to evaluate information for themselves, and find ways to be accepting of others.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

As recently announced, I am retiring on July 31, 2023. It has been an honor to lead FVRLibraries through some tremendously fruitful and challenging years. I have been privileged to work with such fine colleagues as coworkers, volunteers, community partners, elected officials, and fellow governmental entities. I am so proud to have been part of this amazing organization and the tremendous services, staff, and facilities we offer. The Board of Trustees will launch a national search later this month to find my successor. Spread the word—FVRLibraries is a great place to work! You can find out more about our available positions here.

New libraries in the works

We will be breaking ground on the new Woodland Community Library on June 17 at 2 pm. The 7,500 square-foot building will be located on the corner of Lakeshore Drive and Goerig Street, adjacent to a new Woodland Civic Center. The Friends of Woodland Community are also hosting a book sale on the site that day. Find out about donor opportunities, fundraisers, and more on our Invest in Woodland Community Library page.

Our Washougal Community Library project has finished conceptual design and has entered the fundraising stage. More information about donor opportunities can be found on our Invest in Washougal Community Library page.

It’s time for Summer Learning!

Summer at Your Library 2023 is full of fun and educational activities. In-person performances have returned and we’re still offering online versions for extra convenience. Track your activities all summer for a chance to win in the grand prize drawing. Enjoy fun activities with the Library Legends, our own Summer at Your Library mascots. Find out more and sign up online here. Or, visit your local library.

Featured resource: The Oregonian online

We were all disappointed that The Oregonian announced it will no longer deliver newspapers to Washington as of June 4. But, you can read recent issues online at no charge with your library account. Find recent issues of The Columbian, too. For additional newspapers, old and new, visit our Newspapers page.

Community resource: All of Us Research Program

The All of Us Research Program by the National Institute of Health is inviting one million people across the U.S. to help build one of the most diverse health databases in history. They welcome participants from all backgrounds. Researchers will use the data to learn how our biology, lifestyle, and environment affect health. This may one day help them find ways to treat and prevent disease. The traveling educational exhibit will be visiting the Portland-Vancouver area June 14 through August 7. Stop by their van to learn more or visit their website.

Events @ your library this month

See our Monthly Events Booklet or online calendar for more great programs!

Apply for a library account now. It's free for anyone who lives or owns property in FVRLibraries' service area.

If you have any questions about our programs, resources, or services, please reach out to us online or call us at 360-906-5000. See you at the library!