Building for the Future

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Date Posted:  6/21/2021




Dear Library Community,

The last year challenged everyone, but in hard times the Library has always been the place Deschutes County residents could turn to not just for books, but for connection to employment and health resources, small business and legal information, family activities, and, of course, resources for learning and entertainment.

As we look forward, we see continuing growth for Deschutes County. While growth can present challenges, it also provides remarkable opportunities for innovation in the ways in which we serve the community. In 2014 we began a visioning process with the people of Deschutes County to explore what they’d like to see in their libraries in the future. After six years of planning and meeting with more than 6,000 community members, in November 2020 voters supported the Library’s bond measure to expand and improve libraries across the county. We are excited to put vision into action to provide outstanding library spaces and services for decades to come.

The bond will fund the improvement of all libraries in the system: Downtown Bend, East Bend, La Pine, Sisters, Sunriver—and Redmond, which will double in size. It will also fund the construction of a much-needed Central Library at the north end of Bend. This vital location—one of the fastest-growing areas in the county—will also provide new access to residents of Tumalo and south Redmond. No existing libraries will close when the new library is built, and with planned improvements they will all become even greater community assets.

The Central Library, as its name implies, will help centralize critical operations, which will save taxpayers money—and will save library lovers time. With a centralized operating facility, we can get books, movies, and other library materials to customers faster than ever, from La Pine to Sisters, and Redmond to Sunriver. We can also greatly expand our collections, giving you more to choose from with less waiting time. And we will have the infrastructure and resources to better serve those populations who need us the most: home-bound residents, seniors, and schools.

With new residential developments planned for the area, as well as schools and walking and biking paths, and a dynamic new public transportation hub, the Central Library will serve as another important and accessible resource for community residents, just like the existing six libraries throughout the county.

By improving existing libraries, and moving all district functions to one place, we will have more of what our community asked for in every listening session we hosted over the last six years: more flexible spaces. As Deschutes County has grown, so has demand for interactive story times and creative play spaces for children; areas for community interaction and innovation; and rooms for lectures and hands-on learning opportunities. A range of flexible multi-use spaces will support these activities while providing new experiences on every visit.

Thank you to the thousands of residents who worked with us to develop this vision for the future and for voting yes last November to support the library bond. Your voice matters, and we are eager to hear more from you. This fall we begin working with architects to design new and improved libraries, and we are eager to bring you into those conversations. We will host sessions with the architects at all library locations. To receive notification about those sessions, be sure to sign up for email updates here. To tell us more about your hopes and ideas for this next exciting phase of growth for the library and the community, please take this quick survey.

We are eager to continue working with you as we update and expand buildings and services to ensure that Deschutes County residents have access to the library resources and services needed to keep pace with life in the 21st century.


Todd Dunkelberg, Deschutes Public Library Director


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Page Last Modified Wednesday, March 8, 2023