Library fundraising helps keep the doors open

Cannon Beach Library volunteers Kathe Leduc, left, and Joanne Hill prepare for the library's holiday tea when it was re-introduced in 2006. Although the Victorian theme may be toned down in this year's tea, the goodies will be just as they have always been.

Our Cannon Beach Library is different because we are a private, nonprofit organization.

While the Astoria and Seaside libraries are public libraries funded by the general funds of those cities, the many services that our library provides are not paid for out of city taxes.

The city of Astoria budgeted $439,260 for their library this year, while Seaside budgeted $592,742. In contrast, our current library budget is $63,145.

Why the difference? The many dedicated volunteers who this year will spend more than 8,000 hours staffing our front desk; ordering, cataloging and covering books; organizing and dusting bookshelves; doing needed repairs to the building; and participating in numerous fundraising activities.

Volunteers keep our costs low, but we still need funds for book and DVD purchases, supplies, website and computer maintenance, utilities, and the salary of our wonderful office manager.

We cover our costs through donations and a range of fundraising efforts, including our book sale room, the multiday Fourth of July book sale, a fall festival fundraiser, a quilt raffle, annual applications to the city’s parks and community services community grant program and applications to private foundations. We also issue an annual appeal letter that provides a significant portion of our needed funds.

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and generous donors, the Cannon Beach Library is able to provide the community with an extensive selection of books and DVDs, a well-stocked children’s room, interlibrary loan services, free Wi-Fi, access to computers, a book club, an author series and a friendly community meeting place!

On Saturday, Dec. 6, the Cannon Beach Library hosted the annual holiday tea. It’s our way of thanking our wonderful community for another year together, and it’s also a joyous launch to the holiday season.

What some may not realize is that the holiday tea has a long history in Cannon Beach. In 1973, the late Roine Schwehr held the first tea at Bell Harbor, where the Ecola Creek Lodge is located. Through research and planning, she learned how to present an authentic Victorian tea ceremony, complete with a Christmas tree with candles for lighting, cranberry and popcorn strings and homemade gingerbread cookies.

Real silver, crystal and china were used for serving. Roine Schwehr’s husband, Jay, now also deceased, also lit the city’s Christmas lamp each year. Christmas teas were also presented at the U.S. Bank building, the chamber of commerce and even the Schwehrs’ own home before Roine’s death in l992.

There was a lapse in tradition for several years, and then in 2006, the library began hosting the teas. Longtime local resident Marlene Laws, who played a big part in reinstating the teas, says one of the reasons for restarting the annual event is to honor the dream of Roine Schwere and to keep it alive. The earlier teas at the library included Victorian costumes donated by the Coaster Theatre and others. This year, we edged away from a Victorian theme with costumes, but the delicious treats were the same!

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10, in the library, the World of Haystack Rock lecture will feature Selina Heppell, associate professor at Oregon State University. Her topic will be, “From Jumbo Squid to Ancient Rockfish: How Scientists and Citizens Conserve Our Coastal Resources.”

Finally, Cannon Beach Reads will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. This month, the group is reading and discussing “The Log From the Sea of Cortez,” by John Steinbeck.

There will be no library membership (previously known as the library club) meeting in December.

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