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History of the Jefferson County Library

In 1916 a group of citizens of Madras, OR created the Jefferson County Library Association. The library began in a little room on the lower floor of the Odd Fellows Hall. Books were donated from the local residents and the rest were provided on loan from the Oregon State Library. 

In 1920 the association moved to its next location on the corner of 6th and 'D' St. To help with the financing of the JCLA the workers and volunteers held a variety of fundraising ( rummage sales, raffles, operttas, and Silver teas) and members of the community donated money and paid electric bills and postage.  

During the War years, the Library grew as more families moved into the area. the budget of $50 did not go very far and so the Library depended heavily on the volunteers. 

In the early 1950s the building that housed the Library was very small. The Association began a building fund and by June 1956, Jefferson County had a new Library at the same location. A new children's collection drew in more kids and the Library was well used. 

In 1990, the Jefferson County Library moved to its present location on the corner of 7th and 'E' St. It continued to be a hub for children programs and community events.

In 2000, the Jefferson County Library Association became the Jefferson County Library District. A lot of work went into accomplishing this status. The Library was able to purchase the Assembly of God church next door, which provided the Library with some much-needed storage space and meeting places. The Church was named after Sumner and Adele Rodriguez, both strong supporters of the library. 

Over the next 20 years  the Jefferson County Library District continued to improve and grow its collection. The increase of computer usage and borrowing of DVDs and audiobooks  steadily grew and Jefferson County continued to look for ways to encourage the education and enjoyment of reading for all the county residents. Early in 2020, the Juniper Branch of the Family Finders turned over the keys to the Library allowing genealogy researchers more hands-on resources. A new website also provided a large variety of on-line resources that can be accessed by a click of a button.   

The Jefferson County Library District exists for the use, education, and enjoyment of all citizens and visitors of the Library District, providing access to diverse theories, ideas, and opinions in a variety of formats, supports developing readers and lifelong learners, and offers information, courteous services, and quality programs in a safe and welcoming environment.

For further information concerning the history of the Jefferson County Library District, check out Pages of the Past: the History of the Jefferson County Library by Kathie Olson at the Library.


Compiled by GS 

May 28, 2020

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