Friends of the Forest Grove Library was established in 1973 to support our community library, the Forest Grove City Library in Forest Grove, Oregon. (see more history, below)
The primary purpose of Friends is to raise money for library programs. Almost all of the cultural events, children’s programs and teen programs at the library are funded by your Friends of the Forest Grove Library.
Friends Board members are Mike Smith (President), Kim Reynolds (VP), Katie Allnutt (Secretary), Ralph Vasey (Treasurer), Susan Munger, Dave Pauli, Susan Schubothe and Carol Woodford.
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The start of Friends
The following are some reminiscences by Mike Smith, City Librarian back when Friends got their start.
Friends was established, as I recall, in 1973, the year before I arrived to become the City Librarian.
The library—the Rogers City Library located on the corner of College Way and 21st Avenue since 1909—was in crisis. The Library Board recommended that the city buy the post office building (when its lease expired) to become the new library building. The City Council, on which Aldie Howard was a new member, and City Manager, Tony Baldwin, balked at the idea. The City Librarian resigned and soon after the Board resigned in protest. The governance of the library was questioned by Council.
The Library Board had been created under ORS 357 which gave them, as the governing board, a lot of say in the selection and acquisition of property but no taxing authority. The governing board model can and, in this case, did conflict with the powers of the Council. The new City Library Commission, defined as advisory to City Council, was created by City ordinance in the fall of 1974.
Into this maelstrom stepped the creators of the Friends. Names that come to my mind are Millie Hagen and Gwen Walker. I know that Ellen Bump helped with the paperwork founding Friends as a non-profit organization under state law.
The point is that Friends formed, in large part, to assure that our public library would survive. They were not sure what the name of the library would be after the dust settled. That’s why they are named Friends of the Forest Grove Library; without “public,” “city,” or “Rogers.”