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South Tillamook County Library History
History of South Tillamook County Library

In 1969, Liz Clemens, president of the Pacific City – Woods Women's Club, appointed a committee consisting of herself, Marion Sutton, Margaret Howe, Ethel Gelegan and Claudia Starr. The purpose of the committee was to explore the idea of establishing a branch library in Pacific City. The reason, as Liz later explained, was that she was an avid reader and the Bookmobile “just didn't do it for me”.

Liz and Marion met with the Tillamook County Library Director and learned how to become part of the system. The Tillamook County Library Board approved a motion to establish a branch in Pacific City. M.L Schmidt Realty donated a year's lease (at $80.00 per month) on a building at the end of the airport. All that was needed was some book shelves, some books, and some sprucing up. The County Library donated one set of shelves and more were built by local volunteers. The Women's Club gathered some books, and the Library System furnished around 950 books from their library stacks. Volunteers from the Women's Club cleaned and painted and the new library had a successful opening on July 3, 1971.

The Thrift shop began as a Women's Club rummage sale in the fall of 1971 and was kept going as a means of providing funds for the library. The original Thrift Shop was located in the garage of the building at the end of the airport.

In 1973, the Women's Club sponsorship was replaced with the newly formed South Tillamook County Library Club which was incorporated on October 22. At this time, the library was renamed South Tillamook County Library. It was also at this time that the Clubs feelings were that the present building was too small. Looking around, they found a small house for sale on Brooten Road just south of Ferry Street. Alice Miller of PC loaned the money to the Club in the amount of $7900.00. Early in 1974, the library moved into the new building. Again, new shelves were built and the Thrift Shop was set up in a back room. The first years proceeds from the Thrift Shop was $3347.00

By 1981, the Library Club had thirty members and volunteers continued to do maintenance and improvements. In 1982, the Club paid the loan in full and celebrated their accomplishment. The Club decided to spend $50.00 every month for new books and joined the Chamber of Commerce for the first time.

Over the next couple of years, the Club held numerous fund raising events including food fairs, garage sales, bake sales, book sales, plant sales, etc.

In 1985, the purchase of a double wide mobile home across Brooten from where the Library was presently located was completed. After some remodeling, the Thrift Shop and Library was moved across the street. The library occupied the north half of the building, and the Thrift Shop the other half. Each was about 600 sq. feet. Circulation from the South County Library was over 1000 items per month, the highest of any of the Tillamook Branches. An addition was built on the back of the mobile home increasing the size of the Thrift Shop. The members of the Library Club celebrated the 15th anniversary of the opening of the South County Branch (although slightly premature depending on the actual accredited opening date) and the Thrift Shop continued to supply funding.

The fund raisers continued and improvements and additions were added by the group. Then in 1987, the group turned their thoughts to a new facility rather than continued remodeling. By 1988, drives were organized to raise funds for a new building. As before, the Club sponsored fund raising events throughout the year including selling hot dogs at Dory Days etc. The interest and support for the Club grew in attendance to the point the library could no longer host the meetings. They began meeting in the Sid Fisher Hall once a month. The Club was seriously interested in the Winkelman’s property between Brooten and 2nd street. The 200 ft by 200 ft property consisted of eight 50 ft by 100 ft lots.

In June, Bill Winkelman proposed that the Club buy one of the lots for $10,000 and he would donate the other seven lots for the building site (hence the name of the new building). A down payment and terms were agreed on. In May of 1989, the South Tillamook County Library, Inc. was granted 501 non-profit status. The site was cleared and a temporary sign put up which read “Future site of the South County Tillamook Branch Library to known as Winkelman Library”.

The find raisers continued… with Chili Feeds, Spaghetti Feeds, silent auctions for goods donated by local businesses and artisans, etc. There were several auctions offering art by local artists such as Nora Hall, Mark Cavatorta, and Rose Perez. Dorothy Gunness donated two cars to be auctioned off, one of which was a 1929 Model A Tudor.

By January 1990, the search for an architect began and the firm of Alfred Edleman and Thomas Thompson were selected to design the new building. By August of 1993, architect Thompson presented the Club with the plans for the new building. In September, ground was broken with a ceremony and celebration.

Although grants were being applied for, they were based on matching funds raised by the Club and community. Through countless events, the Club raised the needed funds and was awarded several grants from various foundations. And on November 25, 1995 the South Tillamook County Library Club proudly held an Open House and Dedication of the new facility, nearly complete, certainly useable. It was not long before the final touches were applied to the new library.

By 1997, because the Thrift Shop had done so well over the years raising money for the library, it was now time to focus on the Shop. Finances were arranged to build the new facility where you find it now. Without doubt, one of the nicest Thrift Shops to be found. The Thrift Shop, the Library, and properties were all acquired and built by funds raised by the untiring volunteers of the Library Club and support by the community.

This legacy to our children should shout a loud message that with cooperation, determination, and long range foresight, incredible things can happen….

The Library and Thrift Shop should remain a monument to the individuals that worked together for the future and should be an inspiration for those with a dream. This is literally the very heart, soul, and spirit of this community.

Want more history? Check out Pacific City History


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