A cause for celebration: Two libraries reopen

Libraries in Ashland and Medford will reopen Wednesday with songs, snacks and other festivities.

In Ashland, Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson Inada will welcome library patrons back with a short speech at 10 a.m., when the library opens again for the first time since all the county's libraries were shuttered April 6 because of budget constraints.

A group of youngsters, led by Ashland police Sgt. Malcus Williams, will then file into the children's library. On the day the library closed, children staged a sit-in, refusing to leave the library for nearly an hour after the last adults were ushered out. Williams read "Leonardo the Terrible Monster" to the young protesters, then escorted them from the building that day.

On Wednesday, he and the kids will return for another story to celebrate the library's reopening, said Amy Blossom, Ashland branch library manager.

Cider and cookies will be served inside the library all day, Blossom said. She also noted that the library's shelves will be fuller than ever before because all materials were returned when the branches closed and are available for checkout now.

Ashland celebrations continue this weekend when the Mukombe Marimba Club of Ashland Schools plays to commemorate the first Sunday that the library doors are open again. The club's "Bad Monkey" performance ensemble of seventh- and eighth-grade students will perform from noon until 1:30 p.m. Ashland voters approved a local tax levy to extend library hours beyond the basic service provided by the county.

Medford's library will reopen to song by the St. Mary's School choir, which will gather on the sidewalk plaza at the main entrance from 9:30 a.m. until the opening at 10 a.m., said Kim Wolfe, Medford branch manager.

Children's activities, including crafts, a guessing jar and other fun, will be offered all day in the children's library. Refreshments will be served in the library's large community room.

Other branches throughout the county will reopen next week. Most of them will have special events as well, but planning is still under way, Blossom said.

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