Crowds gather at Medford, Ashland library reopenings

Jubilant crowds of Jackson County residents poured through the doors of reopened libraries in Medford and Ashland this morning.

"It's something that shouldn't have been closed in the first place," said Diana McCloud, a Medford resident who didn't let her multiple sclerosis stop her from coming to the Medford library, where the reopening attracted hundreds of patrons.

After checking out an armful of books, the 48-year-old woman, who is often homebound because of her illness, said she took a taxi because she didn't want to miss the opening.

After going through the checkout line, she said the staff was very helpful. Library operations have been outsourced to Maryland-based Library Systems and Services LLC.

"It hasn't changed a bit," she said.

In Ashland, Oregon poet laureate Lawson Inada read a poem that ended, "please, please, who has the keys?" before Ashland Library Director Amy Blossom threw open the doors to the building.

"It's been very emotional," said Blossom. "We've all been working so hard. We're overjoyed. It's so fun to see everyone here again."

All 15 branches of the county library system closed April 6 because of funding problems.

— Staff reports

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