Portland, Oregon — — The Oregon State University library has opened its doors to the public on Thursday for the first time in its history, bringing the university’s flagship library to its community, a library spokeswoman said.
“We’re excited to open our doors to our community and to share the benefits of the partnership we’ve forged with the community,” said the library’s vice president for communications, Jennifer Smith.
“This is a great example of how we can bring community resources to the community through our partnership with the university.”
At a news conference Thursday, Smith said the partnership, which began in the early 1980s, involved providing more than 600,000 books and hundreds of thousands of digital documents and digital photos to community libraries around the state.
Oregon Public Broadcasting and WCCO are the news partners.
For a brief time, it was just another part of the university library system, she said.
The university was not involved in the project, but it was a great way to give back to our students and community and it made us realize that we really have to do more.
“This is not a project that has been done in the past,” Smith said.
“It is something that we can do.”
Smith said that the partnership includes providing free library services for the next several years, which will help the university save money.
It also allows for more open access to the university libraries, which are part of a new, $10 billion library system that includes the College of Liberal Arts, the College to the Arts and the College School of Engineering and Architecture.
The library also will open its doors in partnership with Portland-based Multnomah County Library, which is part of Portland’s Multnomak Housing Authority.
A number of community and nonprofit organizations have signed up for the library, including the Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Jobs With Justice and the Oregon Housing Commission.
Smith declined to disclose the amount of funding the partnership will receive, but said it’s about half the amount the library currently receives.
In a blog post Thursday, the Oregon Public Broadcasting Network said the university was donating a portion of its $2.2 billion budget to the library.
That includes $600,000 to open a new branch in the city’s west side, $300,000 for a new building and $150,000 a year for a library employee.
After the partnership with Oregon Public Media and WCPO, Oregon State is the only public university in the state to offer its library as part of its library system.
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the library is located in the north end of the main campus on the east side of campus. —