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Oakdale library faces uncertain future after village funding lost

January 13, 2019

OAKDALE — The Lois Johnson Memorial Library here is at risk of being closed due to the loss of village funding this past October.

It’s something that Rebecca Williams, the library’s director, doesn’t want to see happen.

“We are asking for donations and things to keep the library going until the village is able to pay for it again,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the library has faced a financial challenge. It previously closed in October of 2017 but reopened in April this past year.

The library is named after Lois Johnson, who was a school teacher at the time, and for good reason.

“From what I understand, she bought the building and sold it back to the village for a dollar after improvements were done,” Williams said. “She has quite a legacy here.”

Like in many communities, Oakdale’s library isn’t just a place to check out books. Children will come to the library after school to work on homework, read and hang out. On Saturdays, they come for craft time, story time and a movie with popcorn, she said.

There is also a teen book club that meets once a month and the library also sponsors a movie club. Beginning last month, they are having teen movie nights that also featured pizza provided by a sponsor.

Teens are also able to get community service certificates by helping out and volunteering at the library, Williams said.

So, it’s not a question of the library providing a valuable community service. It’s more of a question of how to find the funds needed to keep it open.

To help, some teens are doing fundraisers to help raise some money for the library. They will be making keychains and selling them around the community.

Also being contemplated is an ice cream social, but Williams said approval from the village board is needed first before proceeding.

Area businesses also have helped out by donating books, movies and other supplies. Elkhorn Valley Public Power District was able to cover the library’s Christmas party costs, which made it possible for every child who came in to get a gift and some clothes.

The library also has computer and iPads with educational activities on them for young patrons. But there’s a regular need for ink for printers and virus protection software.

“It’s fun to see the kids on the iPads and watching them learn how to read,” Williams said.

There are also things for adults at the library, such as a friends club and adult book club.

Coming soon are the next teen book and movie club on Jan. 25, the monthly teen movie on Jan, 26 and the adult book club on Jan. 29.

“It’s pretty much the only thing left here in Oakdale and we don’t want to see it close,” Williams said.

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Want to help and learn more?

For more information, visit the library’s Facebook page online.

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