The Ocean Shores Library has received its building permit and work has begun on the 1,175 square foot expansion project that is being funded entirely by legacy gifts and private donations with no taxpayer money involved.
Library Director Keitha Owen said, the 28% increase in space “is much needed. On average, 30 people walk through the door every open hour. The building has much wear and tear after 26 years.” This is the first remodel since the library opened in 1993.
“The Ocean Shores Library is expanding more than minds,” Owen continued. New exterior walls to the north and west will be erected while the library is open, but demolition of the interior walls will require closing the facility.
According to Owen’s press release, the library plans to close from July 4 through September, because, “An empty building allows for faster construction, minimizing costs and closed hours.” So, books, shelving, and furniture will be removed for protection and housed in shipping containers on-site.
To make available at least some library services during the closure, the director got together with a long-time library supporter, Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler, and a new friend, North Beach School District Superintendent Andrew Kelly. Together, the city and the school district will offer an array of library services four days a week.
The city has made available temporary space at the Ocean Shores Convention Center, which will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m. North Beach Junior/Senior High School will offer temporary access to computer workstations Wednesdays and Thursdays noon-4 p.m. starting July 17. A current Ocean Shores Library card is required. Printing will be available at 25 cents per page.
Both locations will provide a selection of new and popular books, magazines, CDs, audio books and DVDs for all ages to browse and check out. And the popular Book-a-Techie service can also be scheduled.
“The Friends of the Library and the Ocean Shores Library Foundation are funding the project entirely through legacy gifts and private donations,” according to Denise Siers, president of both organizations. Project proponents have said since unveiling it in late 2017 that no taxpayer money would be expended on the expansion.
The majority of funding comes from the fruits of a gift from an individual who was truly among the “friends of the library.” In the late 1990s, June Kaba bequeathed her entire estate to the Friends of the Library, specifying that the funds could only be used for the expansion of the library building in its current location. Since then, the fund Kaba left has grown to about $250,000.
The effort got an over the top boost and more last summer when the Library Board of Trustees received notification that it is the recipient of the estate of long-time Bremerton resident Victoria Trower, who died in 2017. The board has already received $375,000 with more expected when the estate is finalized.
At the time, Siers said, “This gift will help supplement the Kaba Estate and Friends of the Library funding (for) building expansion project. In addition, this … can provide a long-term funding stream for future non-operational projects with the Ocean Shores Library.”