Our Past | 1957: North Central Washington gives library system a try

Selected by Karen Larsen

According to the North Central Regional Library website, the library system was established in 1960. It was the first in the nation to start a mail order system, and today is one of the few libraries to continue such a system. NCRL serves Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Ferry and Okanogan counties — a larger geographic area than any other library system in Washington State. This article published in the July 11, 1957 edition of the Waterville Empire-Press gives a view of the library system when it was just an idea ready to be tried.


County Mobile Library Will Get Year’s Trial

Rural library service for Douglas County is soon to become a reality. Federal and state funds have now been made available to our county — along with Ferry, Okanogan, and Grant counties — for the formation of a North Central Washington Regional Library Service. And September will mean the beginning of a rural library demonstration period of approximately one year.

A large and expert staff of librarians equipped with a bookmobile, 80,000 books, 1,500 records and 25 films will set out, in the next year, to prove to residents what rural library service can mean.

At the end of the one-year demonstration period, at the time of the November election, the people in the four counties will be asked to vote on whether or not they wish to establish, permanently, the library service. If the vote is favorable, library materials purchased for the demonstration period will be utilized permanently in the counties. Taxes would be levied on the 2 mill basis for support of the libraries and from then on all support would come from the area itself.

During the demonstration year and, it is hoped, for many years following, branch libraries will be set up in small communities throughout the four counties. Further, bookmobiles will make available library service to residents in even the remotest parts of the rural areas. It will be possible, too, to use the mail for library service.

A meeting has been called for Saturday, July 13, to hold discussion on the proposed library service plan. The state librarian and members of her staff and Dr. Irvine Lieberman, director, School of Librarianship, will be on hand and will welcome ideas and suggestions from county commissioners and anyone interested in the program.

The meeting is to be held in the PUD auditorium in East Wenatchee. It will begin at 1:30 p.m.