Love Your Library…November 7th…

Maybe you’ve seen this poster around town announcing that writer Ursula LeGuin will be speaking at a fund raiser to help the Salem Public Library Foundation raise funds for the renovation of the children’s room at the library.  Willamette University English Professor Gretchen Moon will be doing a question and answer session with author Ursula LeGuin at 7:30 p.m., November 7, 2013, in the Hudson Concert Hall at Willamette University.  Tickets are $25 at the Salem Public Library, Travel Salem, or on line at

Ursula Leguin Poster

I love libraries…the one I grew up in, and the Salem Library, where I worked from 1977 until 1991.  Free, sources of endless fascination, images, ideas.  Necessary… and especially to children.

I grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, and “my” first library was a Carnegie library…

Wilmette, Illinois Carnegie Library 1950

which was supplanted by a more modern library…here pictured when it first opened…

Wilmette Public Library 1952 "new building"

By the time I was 12 the empty mezzanine in the picture held the 700 and 800’s…the art books.  I sat and looked at art books on the floor for many an hour.

Salem had a Carnegie Library too (now the Justice Center at Willamette), and this is where I got my first Salem Library card, a week or two after we arrived here…

Salem Public Library Carnegia Library

Our Salem Carnegie Library was built under the original auspices of the Salem Woman’s Club, who had been running a public library in the east end of the council chambers since 1904.  They bought the lot at State and Winter for $5,500, money the women raised (they actually raised $6,000 and used the additional $500 for paving, curbs, and sewer.)  The woman were determined and tireless in their campaign for a Salem library…none more so than Mrs. A.N.Bush who went to New York to call on the members of the Carnegie Foundation to convince them that Salem needed a $30,000 library.  The campaign was successful and the doors opened to the public September 14, 1912.

So for over a hundred years citizens of Salem have had access to an ever-changing library, a library always working to meet the community needs for information, inspiration, recreation, education, fun.  Generations of Salem children have gone to the library story time, checked out books and games and puppets and really grown up at the library.  Come join Roger and me on the 7th of November to hear author Ursula LeGuin, whose science fiction and fantasy stories, narratives and poems have entertained and inspired us.


  1. Spent so much of my time in the school and public libraries as a kid. Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, books about horses and birds and art were my favorites. You could find me on the floor between the stacks reading about places I could only dream of. I still go to the library but it’s usually a quick in/out to pick up a book I’ve put on hold. I suddenly miss those days of of dreaming.

  2. I went to the Salem Library as a kid and used their encyclopedias to write papers. Going to the library at Highland School was a favorite of mine…I got a certificate for reading 80+ books in a year….they probably had a total 200 words in each book. ha Thanks for the memories 🙂

  3. since others are telling of their childhood experiences with libraries, i will add mine. i began by going to the children’s library in everett, washington on saturdays where a librarian would read to us (very expressively) some story she had picked out for that week. after she was done, i’d sift through the stacks picking as many as 6-10 books to take home with me. they had to last a week! i read dog stories (old yeller, call of the wild) and mystery stories (nancy drew, the hardy boys) and pretty much everything that i could carry home. the librarians, who got to know me, finally gave me a pass to the upstairs, adult library, where i stumbled in humble awe around shelves of book titles simply choosing randomly. i remember a glass topped display case and in it, among other things, was a copy of d.h. lawrence’s, lady chatterley’s lover. in the 50’s one had to be ‘adult’ to check out that book, but i read books of lesser literary merit there that were far racier than that book turned out to be.

    in 1905 the everett library (then in one of the women’s club’s homes) received a carnegie grant also, and the resulting library remains to this day a modest, but august building on hoyt avenue. treasured memories. thanks, bonnie, for this post. (san)

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