About the library
The Seldovia Public Library is a 501(c)(3) and a State of Alaska-recognized non-profit corporation established in 1935 and in continuous operation since then.
Part of the Alaska Library System, the library has always been staffed by volunteers and is managed by a director who represents the six-member library board. Circulation services are available to seasonal and permanent residents and visitors to the Seldovia community without charge.
The early years
The original library was directed by Susan Bloch English and located in the “old schoolhouse”. The founding board of directors included:
- Juanita Anderson
- Mrs. Thomas Garner
- Lloyd A. Hansen
- H. H. Malcolm
- Helen Malcolm
- Jean McCullaugh
- Joe V. Miller
- R. C. Morris
- Ruth A. Vincent
- Dorothy Warner
How we grew
The library is presently located in the central section of the city multipurpose building. This section was constructed by the library using a grant from the State of Alaska and build on city-owned property with the stipulation that the city would own the building and the library would use its portion rent-free. The 4288′ sq. construction was designed by architect Harold Alsted and built by contractor Hugh Smith, at a total project cost of $198,000. The new building was dedicated on March 31, 1979 in a public ceremony presided over by then-Mayor Darlene Crawford.
In the mid 1990s, thanks to another grant from the State of Alaska and the hard work of library volunteer Helen Hille, city manager Ivan Widdom, and Seldovian Kris Lethin, the library purchased its first computer with software to manage circulation.
In 2001 the library received its first computer for public use from the Gates Foundation. A second computer was purchased in 2005 for public use with a followup grant.
In 2004 the library received a donation of a newer, purpose-built computer from Tom Glover and under the supervision of library volunteer Savannah Lewis, new software was purchased and the collection was fully cataloged into a new circulation program, ResourceMate. In the spring of 2009, a computer donation from another library patron allowed the library to realize its long-held dream of having a dedicated, stand-alone collection catalog look-up computer. Between 2012 and 2014, through the Online With Libraries (OWL) program, we received additional equipment which included: 5 desktop computers, 4 laptop computers, a wireless router, a printer/copier/scanner, video teleconference equipment, a Cisco codec & camera, a digital video & stills camera, an early literacy station, and a digital presenter. In 2013, our collection became searchable online through our website.
Members of today’s library board are:
- Shirly Giles (President)
- Dianne Gruber (Vice President)
- Karen Latimer
- Damara Burnett
- Tracie Merrill (Treasurer)
- Jan Wyland (Secretary)
- Laura Haskins (Director)
The library board meets quarterly on the last Tuesday of April, July, October, and January in the library at 7 pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend board meetings, but participation is at the discretion of the meeting chairman.
The library obtains the majority of its annual operating budget in the form of a grant from the State of Alaska. This is augmented by donations from our patrons and proceeds from the sale of books, movies, and baked goods.
The library is staffed by volunteers and though the list of past and present volunteers is too numerous to list, we wish to sincerely thank all of them for giving of their time.
We are always in need of more volunteers, including students looking to build up community service credentials for their college applications. If you can spare some time to help out the library, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The library has a collection for adults and children of all ages of over 11,000 books, magazines, audiobooks, music, and movies, and new items are added on a weekly basis. We also participate in the Interlibrary Loan system and can obtain materials from libraries all over the state upon request.
Books and magazines are loaned for three weeks and movies for one week; all items may be renewed by phone or email. We do not have a formal overdue charge, but patrons are asked to make a donation to the library operating fund in proportion to how late their items are.
We have several computers for public use available during library hours without charge. One computer has disability software on it (zoomtext) for visually impaired patrons along with a zoomtext keyboard and camera to enhance the benefits of the software. Computers may be used for 20 minutes at a time when other patrons are waiting; when there is no waiting line, there is no time limit on use. Six desktop computers and three laptop computers can be used for internet and other general use. The computers have DSL internet and browser access to internet-based email and office suites. We added free wireless internet during 2008, with coverage in the Multipurpose Room and the library front steps as well as in the library itself. We have two jump drives (flash drives) available for the public to check out (for a week at a time) should patrons wish to save unfinished work and take that work home with them. The early literacy station consists of a computer station with software especially designed to engage children in subjects such as math, reading, and social studies as well as many other subjects. It is not hooked up to internet. Computer assistance is always available to patrons during regular library hours upon request.
With the help of a Rasmuson Grant, the Seldovia Public Library was able to renovate and re-decorate an extra room downstairs into a welcoming and comfortable space. This area houses our Alaskana Collection, audiobooks, and archive collection, but also serves as a quiet study area and conference room. The room is equipped with a Video/Teleconference unit, DVD player, computer, and white board. Patrons may use this space for individual study and skype or as a meeting space for up to 14 participants.
A sale shelf is located on the landing outside the library doors, stocked with items excess to the collection and donations from the public. The library also hosts a free paperback trade rack and give-away shelf. Our annual book sale is held on July 4, but we often offer special sales in conjunction with other events.
The library frequently hosts special events, storytelling hours, and classes sponsored by the library itself or in cooperation with other organizations. Our video teleconference equipment allows us to offer storytelling events, classes, and presentations from across the country and world to our patrons for free. If your organization would like to use the library for a special event, please contact the library at 907-234-7662 during library hours.