Rural Growth Is the next Step for Dexter Library.

Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard DEXTER - This community has no city hall - because it has no city government - but that didn't stop a handful of local residents from pursuing an unlikely dream of opening a public library.

After six years of fundraising and digging into their own pockets, the small group scraped together a down payment on a former Lane County shop building just off Highway 58 on Lost Creek Road. They formed a board of directors, landed renovation funding from the Ford Family Foundation, the Rose E. Tucker Trust, the Meyer Memorial Trust and Siuslaw Valley Bank, and opened to the public in June 2002.

They outfitted the interior with solid wood library furniture handed down from the old Eugene Public Library when its new facility opened. Volunteers keep the library open by sorting and shelving books and maintaining the building and grounds. Area Eagle Scouts have added outdoor landscaping, a new sidewalk, a pedestrian walkway, a flag pole and a bike rack.

"A beautiful soapstone sculpture was created by Pleasant Hill art students in conjunction with Lane Arts Council and installed in front of the library building," said Candy Lanfear, the library's volunteer director. "A grant from the Cow Creek Indian Foundation made it possible to offer a Winter Reading Program, poetry workshop, cartooning and bookmaking workshops, a book club, after school homework help, summer school and art festival. This foundation also sponsored a Cards for Kids program which put a library card in the hands of over 600 students in local schools." Now the volunteers who got what was first called the Dexter Library up and running are dreaming bigger. They have formed the Friends of the Cascade Foothills Library to work to improve library services to rural residents. The name change reflects the fact that the library also serves community members in Pleasant Hill, Trent, Lowell, Jasper and Fall Creek. And residents of those areas are invited for some instant gratification on Sunday.

"We will honor the charter Friends at a barbecue and celebration," said Candy Lanfear, the library's volunteer director.

The event will begin at 3 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres and a tour of the library, including displays showing the work of children who have participated in the library's poetry, photo, and art programs.

"From 4 to 6 p.m., dinner and dessert will be served to the backdrop of great music from the popular band, Calamity Jazz," she said. "There will be special recognition for the dedicated volunteers who have worked so hard over the years to keep this rural library open." Organizers hope the event, sponsored by library boosters Wayne and Lynn Hamersly, will become an annual event.

Area residents interested in becoming Friends of the Library members can contact Lanfear at 726-6511 or .

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