Roseburg library staff prepares for closure: 'We're all looking for work'

The last day to return borrowed books to the Roseburg library is May 31st. The book return will remain unlocked until June 15th. (SBG, AF)

ROSEBURG, Ore. – The Roseburg library location is the last public library in Douglas County where you can still check out a book, but not for long.

The other libraries in the Douglas County Library System have closed for good.

In a sense, they are still functioning; you just can't check out books.

"Some of them have become reading rooms because they've signed intergovernmental agreements,” said Tonya arroyo, Administrative Assistant of the Douglas County Library in Roseburg.

Just like the others, the Roseburg library will soon close for good.

People have until May 31 to return their checked-out books to the location. On June 1, the library doors will be locked for good.

Library officials will keep their book drop open, which can be accessed from the outside of the building, until June 15.

According to library officials book borrowers will be charged if they don’t make their returns.

The downfall of the Douglas County Library System comes after a long process of decreased funding from the county.

In last year's November election, the majority of the community voted against the formation of a library district, an alternative funding option for the libraries.

Many people are returning their books and preparing for the upcoming dates, but library users aren't the only ones who are getting ready for the closure. Staff members will be out of work and are planning for their future.

"I’ve lost quite a few people already, not just from the terminations, just also people getting jobs now because we're all looking for work,” said Arroyo. "It's sad to see everybody go."

She said other staff members have put in their paperwork to retire.

Arroyo said she's shocked to have visitors still coming in and signing up for library cards despite the upcoming closure.

Other people, however, are more aware of how this story ends.

“A lot of the people come to circulation expressing grief, some express a little anger; not at us really, just at the fact that it's closing,” said Arroyo.

A 19-member Library Futures Task Force, made up of county commissioners, library staff and city officials, meets regularly to talk about what happens after the doors are locked for good.

“They're trying to figure out what to do with the library and the entire system after the closing date," said Arroyo.

Officials don’t know what will happen to all of the books that have filled the library shelves for many years. They know the books will stay there until after the library closes, then they'll decide what to do with them.

The library at Umpqua Community College has seen an influx of visitors as of late. College officials said they expect more people when the Roseburg branch closes.

“We as a library are wanting to be open to everyone in the community; that's what libraries are all about, both public and academic,” said Carol McGeehon, UCC Library Director and Tutoring Services.

For years, the UCC library has been offering community cards to the public and will continue to do so.

Their library offers a print collection, digital collection, and thousands of e-books.

It’s open Monday through Friday, starting at 7:30 a.m.

UCC library officials are creating a brochure to give to the public about info they may need.

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