Editorial: Library system a community asset

Published Mar 18, 2014 at 12:01AM

Don’t accuse Central Oregonians of being non-readers. As the 1,400-person turnout for “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed at Sunday’s “Author! Author!” event demonstrated, we love books and those who create them.

“Author! Author!”, now in its second season, is the creation of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation as a fundraiser for the library. With one presentation left to go this year — Geraldine Brooks, who wrote “The People of the Book” and “March,” among others — it’s clear the event has hit its stride.

This season’s authors have appealed to a broad range of readers, from young adults to history buffs to those who love a real-life mystery. Next year’s series has not been announced, but author Ann Patchett (“Bel Canto”) has an October 2014 appearance at the Bend High Auditorium listed on her website.

Clearly, the series has been able to attract top popular authors, and the community has responded by turning out to hear them. Their range of subjects is broad enough to appeal to a wide variety of readers.

“Author! Author!”, like the library’s “Novel Idea ... Read Together” and other special programs, is a demonstration of the value the library system adds to the communities of Deschutes, and by extension, Crook and Jefferson counties. We may no longer be in the middle of nowhere, as a gubernatorial candidate once said, but we’re not exactly a half-hour from New York, either. That the library is able to attract well-known writers here enriches all of us.

Libraries, like so much else in the age of the Internet, have had to reach out in ways their leaders would never have imagined even 20 years ago. The Deschutes system and the foundation that supports it have been exceptionally good at finding creative ways to further their mission and engage the community. “Author! Author!” is a demonstration of how successful they’ve been.