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MailTribune.com
  • A little bit of history

    How we got from 'Snoopy's doghouse' to multimillion-dollar system
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  • Applegate
    Opens in 1940 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gail Buffington as a station of the Medford City Library. In 1978, volunteers launch a 150-square-foot space in the Applegate store. In 1996, library moves to 500 square feet at the other end of the building.
    Current library opens on Nov. 25, 2002, at 18485 N. Applegate Road. Square footage: 2,850.
    Ashland
    Opens in 1891 (making it the oldest in Jackson County) under the auspices of the Epworth League of the Methodist Church. At first annual meeting in 1892, there are 97 paid members and 240 books. Library board votes that no "books of a controversial nature on the subject of religion" shall be allowed. Ashland takes over operations in 1909. Carnegie building opens in 1912 and is expanded to 7,000 square feet in 1955. In 1970, Ashland joins other communities as part of the county library system. In the 1980s, Ashland is the only community in the county that contributes city funds to maintain services.
    Current library opens July 22, 2002, at 410 Siskiyou Blvd. Square footage: 22,655.
    Butte Falls
    Opens as a branch library of the county system on Nov. 23, 1920. Moves to various locations over the years, including the school. In 1987, residents obtain a grant to buy Casey's Restaurant and turn it into a 1,025-square-foot branch.
    Current library is to be expanded at 626 Fir St. by June 2008. Projected square footage: 2,000.
    Central Point
    Opens on May 25, 1920, under a contract with Jackson County. Furniture is purchased from the Red Cross. Library has 400 books to serve a population of 582. In 1970, it moves to a 2,600-square-foot building on Pine Street.
    Current library opens at 116 S. Third St. on Sept. 10, 2005. Square footage: 8,188.
    Eagle Point
    Opens in March 1921 with 200 books under a contract with Jackson County. By June 1921, Eagle Point is exchanging 50 books a month with Medford, Rogue River, Talent, Jacksonville, Butte Falls, Central Point and Gold Hill. By 1923, all branch libraries are required to be open twice a week, one afternoon and one evening, for a total of not less than six hours. A 3,000-square-foot library is built in 1977.
    Current library opens at 239 W. Main St. on Oct. 17, 2004. Square footage: 8,512.
    Gold Hill
    Opens in March 1921 with 200 books as branch of the Medford library. By June 1921, library is exchanging 50 books monthly with other branches. In 1931, Medford head librarian Miss Woolsey takes over branch for several months to "demonstrate the methods of library work." In 1975, the library shares a building with City Hall.
    Current library opens at 202 Dardanelles St. on Feb. 14, 2005. Square footage: 4,971.
    Jacksonville
    Opens in a "suitable room" in an 1855-era building that contains 290 books for a town of 489 people. It is the first to join forces with the Medford Public Library. The oldest of the library buildings, it is rumored to have been a refuge for settlers during the Rogue River Indian Wars in the 1850s.
    Current library opens at 340 West C St. on Dec. 16, 2002. Square footage: 5,700.
    Medford
    Opens as a subscription library in 1903 in G.H. Haskins' Drugstore after 50 citizens donate $2 for books. Borrowing privileges are an extra 25 cents a month. In 1907, the Greater Medford Club demands a public library, and it opens in 1908 with 200 books in City Hall. City fails, to get a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a building because the population, at 1,791 residents, is too small.
    In 1910, Medford's population jumps to 8,000 during a construction boom. An editorial in the Mail Tribune states, "We need the library now more than ever since we are in danger of submergence in a tide of materialism." Carnegie provides most of the $17,298 required for the building. It opens on Feb. 8, 1912, with much fanfare and includes a museum with 100 stuffed birds from Florida, Cuba and the Philippines. Next to a men's smoking and reading room is a space for ladies to read.
    By 1919, the Medford library becomes the hub of a system of libraries.
    In 1928, the system is held up as a model of library service by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department's "Farmer's Bulletin" states that the slogan "The county library brings books to the boy on the farm" helps pass a tax to fund the libraries, which have grown to nine branches, 26 stations and 80 school collections.
    In 1945, voters approve bonds totaling $102,000 for an expansion. But rising costs make the bid obsolete. After community complaints, the library doubles in size to 15,000 square feet at a cost of $100,679.
    In 1981, the Carnegie building is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
    Current library opens at 205 S. Central Ave. on April 4, 2004. Square footage: 83,000.
    Phoenix
    Opens on April 3, 1925, as a rural branch of the Medford Public Library. It is housed in such a small wooden building that a librarian refers to it as "Snoopy's doghouse." A 2,100-square-foot library is built in July 1978.
    New library is under construction and expected to open by early January at 510 W. First St. Square footage: 5,815.
    Prospect
    Library "station" opens in 1955 in the home of Veda Neville. Medford provides books but no staff. In 1961, it is upgraded to branch library and moved into a former log scaling shack. In 1962, the building is enlarged to 730 square feet.
    Current library opens March 6, 2005, near the Prospect Elementary School. Square footage: 2,405.
    Rogue River
    In 1910, the Woodville Women's Civic Improvement Club organizes a book social in the old opera house. With 38 books collected, the library opens in a one-room building. On its first day, the library checks out all 38 books. In 1920, it becomes a branch of the Medford library. In 1952, the library is housed in City Hall. In 1958, controversy over funding escalates, and branch separates from the county. It rejoins in 1970. In 1990, library moves into a new building.
    Current library opens in January 2003 at 412 E. Main St. Square footage: 11,460.
    Ruch
    Opens in 1984 after two years of effort by residents. In 1985, it moves to Sunshine Plaza. In 1986, it becomes the Ruch Branch Library, the newest in the county library system.
    Current library opens in November 2002 at 7919 Highway 238. Square footage: 5,900.
    Shady Cove
    Opens in 1940 inside the Treasure Trove, a store owned by Carrol and Evalyn Watson. In 1957, the Watsons close the library because of lack of space. In 1966, Steelhead Post 1881 of the VFW donates a building. A new 3,000-square-foot library opens in 1979.
    Current library is expected to be expanded at 22477 Highway 62 by spring 2008. Square footage: 5,661.
    Talent
    Opens in 1920 in a room in the Talent City Hall. On opening day, patrons check out 37 of the 225 books supplied by Medford. A new 2,305-square-foot library opens in June 1975.
    Current library opens at 105 N. Market St. on Feb. 25, 2007. Square footage: 7,083.
    White City
    Begins as the "Table Rock library station" in 1957. It is phased out in 1965 because of illness of station attendant Gene Thomas. It becomes the White City branch in 1964 in a storefront shared with a laundromat. In 1973, it is housed in a prefabricated, 2,000-square-foot building.
    Current library opens Sept. 21, 2001, at 3143 Avenue C. Square footage: 6,640.
    — Source: Jackson County
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