“Because Everyone Should Have Access to Libraries.”
This was the guiding principle behind the establishment of Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) and is still true today. The Foundation’s Donna Selle Fund supports WCCLS’ provision of library books for people who cannot get to a public library.
Back in the ‘70s, a group of community volunteers urged the County to provide free public library services to all residents. At the time there were seven cities that had public libraries, but most county residents could not use them without paying a fee. Leading the push for library services was Donna Selle, a Hillsboro resident who later became the first Manager of WCCLS.
Passage of the first tax levy in 1976 established countywide library services. This not only meant that anyone could walk into a library to check out books, but it also included centralized outreach programs to assure that people who couldn’t get to a library were not left out. To do that, WCCLS used CETA funding and VISTA volunteers to launch outreach and delivery of library books.
One of the first outreach workers was Linda Stiles Taylor. Donna gave Linda and her co-workers the freedom to experiment and innovate to see what worked. The team used that inspiration in the following ways:
- established rotating large print book collections in nursing homes, senior apartments, and all public libraries
- led workshops in nursing homes and senior centers including poetry writing, local history, and memoir writing
- registered and trained people to use equipment from Oregon Talking Book and Braille Services
- delivered books to jail inmates and homebound residents
- established Books-By-Mail to send paperbacks to people who lived in rural areas
- incorporated Spanish language books in outreach
Donna has said, “the team wasn’t grounded in what couldn’t be done, so they tried everything!” And in doing so, established many innovative programs.
Fast Forward 45 Years
Library Outreach Service is still a core feature of WCCLS, and a key program that the Library Foundation supports. Through the generous donation of Linda Stiles Taylor, the Donna Selle Fund was established in 2021 to support the purchase of books for people who cannot get to a public library. Additional donations have been added to this endowment and it is our hope that it will continue to grow. Your donations can be made online PayPal, or see our Donation Options.