Library Update from Sean

July 2021

Report to the Friends

My report is quite short this month.

Thank you for all your time, energy, and creativity for the Grand Opening. That morning someone told me a grand opening is like a wedding. You have to expect something to go wrong, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. From my perspective it was a success. I can also pass on what I heard from Sherry Braga. She said this was one of the smoothest grand openings she’s been to and had some of the best activities for kids to enjoy. At the library we gave out 43 library cards on Friday, another 20 on Saturday, and more on Monday. We also checked out a lot of items on Friday. And we’ve had lots of questions about use of the meeting room.

Being open without capacity limits and keeping track of how long patrons are in the library is wonderful. I’m looking out my office window into the childrens’ area right now and there are three moms pulling books and 1 sitting where the wall mounted kids’ enrichment tools are with three little ones playing with these amidst a lot of excited chatter. Over the last couple of days we’ve had 4 people in using laptops and staying for long periods of time.

This beats being closed for five days due to the discovery of a crushed sewer pipe. I honestly can tell you never did I dream that I would see wheelbarrows going by my office window full of liquid concrete to fill in a two foot hole in the floor.

And I’ve had several more people come in with ideas for programs from running a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons program to starting a program on family history and organizing family photos to a weekly card and dice game program for mature adults. That’s the one I’m most excited about. Although progrmming staff haven’t sat down for a meeting yet I’m mapping out a tentative calendar.

JUNE 2021


In the latter part of May we filled our last new position and hired Leticia as a 24 hour PSA. She’ll start June 17.

We began moving non-critical items over towards the end of May. Marilyn our new 24 hour SLA would win a gold medal in any sort of endurance competition involving moving things. She even came in for extra hours on one of her days off to help us. By Saturday June 5 it seemed that all that remained were the tables which I brought over.

During this time we also had over 200 boxes of books arrive that needed shelving. I am convinced that Jan who leads the Collection Development Department would win in any speed shelving contest. She managed to shelve 100 boxes of adult fiction in one long day. Not only that, but as we interfiled our adult fiction it all fit perfectly!

John, one of the couriers, spent portions of three afternoons with us after he had finished his route helping us move stuff, but also helping with shelving. I can’t tell you how happy I was at the end of that first long day when he told me he had moved all the empty boxes from the new library to the temporary location.

I also returned from lunch one day last week to find that Anne-Laure had shelved all of the magazines. This was important because we weren’t sure how many we could actually fit on the shelves neatly and we only have 4 titles remaining.

All shelving is complete. Excess books are being sent elsewhere. We’re getting very close to having the staff areas organized. Our goal was to open to the public by June 21st and I feel confident that we can meet that goal. We decided as a staff that when we open we will allow up to 24 people in at a time. Starting July 1st people who are vaccinated and children will be allowed in without masks though we will not be asking people’s vaccination status. Staff will continue to wear masks.

The Library District’s Facilities Department and the contractor are still fixing some items (like a leaky pipe in the staff bathroom), IT still needs to install our new catalog computers, the key card system isn’t live at this point, but I noticed this morning that all of the doors have door knobs now. I expect these little things will be taken care of as they crop up and as other departments are able.

The RCCA board toured the new branch on Friday May 28. Staff are feeling comfortable enough with people in the building that they’ve been letting in parents who come by with children and end up peering through the windows just to see the place.

I’ve still been able to lead Wednesday’s Pathfinder program.

I also had a conversation with a patron who wanted to reserve the large multiuse room for a music jam meeting taking place monthly. I suggested making this a library program so the room could be reserved for the same day and time several months ahead.

MAY 2021


We are saying goodbye to Kathlleen Mintz who is moving to a full-time position at Three Creeks Community Library. Marilyn Abbink from Vancouver Community Library is our new 24 hour Senior Library Assistant. We have hired a full-time Senior Library Assistant, Becky Netherada.

The Library District is offering Limited In Branch Services. People can come into the library to browse up to our capacity which is 1 unless it’s a couple or parent with small children. Starting June 7 our capacity will be 12 as we will be in the new location. We will do away with our closure from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and our closure for the last 15 minutes of every hour. We will also have Internet workstations which people can use. On June 7 we will begin offering curbside services until 6:00 p.m. and Limited in Branch Services also until 6:00 p.m. People will be allowed in the branch for a full hour. Generally chairs will not be available and we will be removing the cushions from the window seats.

Interlibrary Loan opened back up May 1st with some limitations.

The May Experience Kit was Go Art Yourself and arrived May 15. The Library also distributed a calligraphy kit tied to a program offered through the library district by the Oregon Hope Chinese School to celebrate the Year of the Ox.

Summer Reading starts June 15 and will be virtual.

We will be closed June 3-5 as we move from the temporary location to the new location. Curbside pick-up will not be available during this time. We will offer curbside service starting June 7. Our soft opening date has moved to June 21. We’ve started moving items over to the new building.

I had an email from a woman who coordinates the Stitchery group that stopped meeting when the library closed due to COVID. She wanted to know when this program could start back up. It’s going to be awhile, but I was excited to hear from her.

Building Project Updates

The big news in April was the fence coming down and what a difference that made.

Since then much more has happened.

  • The parking area behind the library was refreshed with new asphalt and parking stripes were added.

  • The sliding glass door between the library proper and the Community Meeting Room has been installed. I’m pleased that it’s easy to open and close.

  • Almost all furniture has been delivered and put together. I had emailed Amelia telling her how much I liked the cushions on the window seats and purposefully didn’t send her a photograph so she’d be surprised. She emailed back that she had set them out the Friday before. The break room and kitchenette have full-sized refrigerators.

  • The copier/printer arrived. 4 Internet workstations were delivered. Staff computers were set-up. The network connection was set-up on the 18th.

  • Facilities staff delivered 220 boxes of books for the branch, and Jan Johnston, who is the lead for Collection Development and I shelved these over 2 days. I’m convinced that Jan would win any speed shelving contest. And over the next week more books will be coming on top of what we have at the temporary location.

  • Still to come are flat screen TVs, a video game system, and a projector in the large meeting room.

I’ve realized two things. First, I’m challenging staff to add color and character to the break room though Patricia Thompson with the Art Association has offered to let us borrow paintings.

The second thing is that it will take a while for staff to feel like the new building is their space. Early on I felt a little like I was trespassing almost. Now that I’ve put my files in my office there’s no issues for me. But it will be an adjustment for staff who haven’t been inside as much as I have.

APRIL 2021


Thank you for the generous gift of the Keurig. The coffee, tea, and hot chocolate drinkers at the branch will make good use of it. And for the generous offer to purchase a water filter and have it ijnstalled.

The most exciting news is that on Monday April 12 the first two patrons in over a year came into the library to browse the collection. The library had a soft opening on April 12 for patrons to use the library to browse either by making an appointment or via walk-up. We’re limited to 1 to 2 people for a half hour visit. Promotion starts April 19 and we’re looking forward to welcoming more patrons into the library.

We have 4 Chromebooks available for patrons to check out and use outside the library.

We had a Curbside service count of 587 for this month and we handed out 205 Experience Kits/Curbside Crafts. Chris Poppert from the Family Resource Center did not pick up craft kits we had set aside for her so our count of kits handed out is a little down.

Kathlleen and Lois are like the dynamic duo of crafts! Kathlleen had kids saying “April Fish!” instead of “April Fools” on April 1st with her craft kit containing a cut out fish and instructions stating that in France on April 1st it is a tradition to stick paper fish on other people as a joke.

Lois pulled together a poetry collage craft since April is National Poetry Month.

The District has posted the two new positions at the Ridgefield Library which are a new 24 hour SLA (like Kathlleen) and a new 24 hour PSA (like Anne-Laure). We’re tentatively planning to move June 3rd-June 5th from the temporary library to the new location and hoping to have new staff onboard the 3rd week in May.


Shelving is up in the new location except for in the kids’ area where carpet needs to be installed. Paving took place Tuesday in the alley area and striping will take place next Monday. The glass slider between the main library and the community room should be installed next week. Planters and the bike rack are on order, and an order for benches will be sent in presently. The hearing loop is installed, but until the AV equipment is installed-which will be in early June-this installation is not complete.

Proofs using the historic photos as images on the windows have been received and reviewed. The final signage order is being reviewed. Photos from the Chinook tribe for windows in the children’s area have been received. We hope to have photos from the Cowlitz tribe up in the kid’s area also.

On Friday we’re meeting with the company putting the donor boards together.

MARCH 2021


On April 12 Ridgefield Library will open for Library Beyond 5 services including checking out Chromebooks for people to use outside for up to 2 hours (The Library has no public Internet stations). The library will also open up to allow people to browse. People will be able to make appointments for up to half an hour every hour (Library staff will clean between patrons). If an appointment time is not full we will take a walkup patron.

In February a total of 226 crafts were given out. 158 were curbside crafts that were planned and prepared here. 68 were experience kits that were planned for the entire district by Jamie Baer, but put together by Kathlleen. Of these, 30 went with Chris Poppert to the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.

Our curbside service count for this month was 538. Considering that we were closed for 3 days due to a Holiday and snow, dividing that number by the 21 days we did work, we averaged service to 25 people daily.

Lois put together a collage craft kit for First Saturday/Youth Art Month including poster board and images from magazines. She included an invitation for patrons to return their completed collage and we’ll hang them in the library like we did with the snowflakes. After these were exhausted she put out a pinecone bird feeder craft kit, and once these were gone Kathileen put out an Experience Kit centered on weaving.

Lois led a Virtual Teen Book Discussion at the end of last month.

Kathlleen is moderator for an English Conversation Circle and hosts a virtual Craft ‘n Chat program at the beginning of the month.

I continue to lead a Virtual gaming program every Wednesday. Players now include a 4th grade girl who enjoyed her first session of this program so much that she had her parents buy the First Edition Core Rule Book.

We will not be presenting the Ridgefield Arts Experience this year.

I’m glad to report that Ridgefield will have a collection of 15-20 titles in French and geared for students in Middle School, including a couple of copies of The Little Prince.

The District is distributing Teen Library Loot boxes that contain a book, a snack, a creative activity and a calendar of events. These go to teens who sign up through the website.

I am beginning to put together a plan for how to serve patrons if we are still operating under the same COVID related constraints-that is limited entry and limited computer use. This planning is easier with the welcome news that we will have 2-24 hour positions open.

Ridgefield Building Project Update

The contractor has indicated a finish date of May 11. Probably early April for furniture installation. We do not have a move in date.

I was in the building today. Most of the carpet is installed.The planks of green, blue and orange give the mostly grey-toned carpet punch. All lights are up. The service desk area is finished (We’re talking quartz tops). The display case in the Community Meeting Room is finished. All the window seats are installed, and they all have cubbies. The self-serve tech counter is up (This is the one that overlooks Davis Park). Glass doors from the Main Avenue vestibule and the Mill St. vestibule into the library are installed. The partition between the library and the Community Meeting Room is not installed yet and workers were installing floor cove. This is going to be a knock-out library to echo what the contractor said and what I know.

While I was there. I took a long look at the Friends cabinet today and later we’ll need to figure out money containment through the deposit slot-using a metal locking box like before will not work. An open metal container or any sort of small box will work. The cabinet is locking so this area is secure. Opening the door with the payment slot will require kneeling down to let the release for the door lose.

We are still reviewing the sign package. The photographs for the historic images on the windows project have been selected. We are reviewing information on the donor boards.

Amelia and I went to see the bronze eagle today and have asked our Facilities Department to see if it can be hung in the Main Avenue vestibule.

Last week I ordered flags for the Community Room. This week I’m ordering new book carts.