In the Beginning
In the summer of 1988, Keizer Elementary School teachers Vye Carlile and Sherry Fisher together with counselor Mary Spillman, formed a committee for the purpose of establishing a summer reading program for Keizer children. Spokesman Carlile, used her status as a part time writer for the KeizerTimes to effectively promote the program. Soliciting and receiving donations of books and cash, including $300 from Keizer Rotarians, and a location at the old City Hall, children’s library services began July 7 on Thursdays from 1 to 4 pm. While conceived as a summer reading program, the Keizer Reading Connection continued to provide services with a change to Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm.
The trio, Carlile, Fisher and Spillman, operated the library for several years before relinquishing their duties to Patty and Richard Sawyer. This was an interesting twist for the Sawyers since City Hall formerly housed private Christian school where Richard was the media center director and Patty served for twelve years as school librarian. They oversaw the library’s movement in late 1999 from then soon to be torn down City Hall to the Keizer Heritage (Old School) Building next door which provided more apace and opportunity to grow.
Patty Sawyer served as Library Director until September of 2006 when she became Co-Director with professional librarian Jan Deardorff and gradually withdrew her services. Jan continued as Library Director, making every effort to expand library services and recognition until her retirement in May of 2008. Perhaps the major accomplishment of Jan’s tenure was in securing a Federal grant for the study of library services in Keizer. For the results this study and subsequent recommendations, see http://keizerlibrary.org/home/report-of-the-third-library-task-force.
Upon Jan Deardorff's retirement, Art Burr (a retired forester) offered to assume the the duties of Director until a more qualified person could be found. Like Deardorff, his efforts were directed at expanding services, concentrating on the most pressing need of finding more space. A blue-ribbon committee of community leaders was formed to advise the library board on the matter and ultimately more space was allocated within the Keizer Heritage Building.
Additional help was provided by the City of Keizer in the form of surplus furniture and computers, access to and use of a store room within City Hall and permission to hold semi-annual book sales in the Community Center lobby. Expansion into the additional space corresponded with the closing of a major book store in Salem resulting in opportunity to obtain needed book cases and other items,
Recently retired Willamette University professor, Steve Prothero, made a major contribution in helping the library to obtain and use a computer software program for inventory and automation of circulation activities. He assumed the directorship in 2011. Prior to his death on March 1, 2013, Steve provided funds for the purchase of four new computers for use by the public.
Prothero's successor was Laura Bindley who served until May of 2015.
In December of 2015, the board decided to expand the head leadership position to include an assistant manager to help our Library Manager. The board voted to install Kathy Thomas as manager and Anna Scheler as Assistant Manager.