Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Farmington, and its library, are hidden gems

Daily News column, June 27, 2020 by Rita Ackerman,
Farmington Branch Manager, WCL
I have the pleasure of serving residents of all ages from a small library in Farmington, Washington.

Farmington is located in the northeast corner of Whitman County near the Idaho border and the library is located in the historic 1908 Masonic Lodge Building across from a lush city park. Listed on the National Historic Register, the Masonic Building also houses the town hall and a community meeting room.

Farmington is a hidden gem, serving as the gateway to McCroskey State Park and Skyline Drive where breathtaking views of the Palouse are a popular backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and sightseeing.

The population of Farmington peaked around 1930, with 500 people utilizing businesses, banks, a general store, pharmacy, hotels, doctors, and a busy rail line.

As the railroad use declined, so did Farmington’s population. The school closed in the late 1960’s and today, less than 150 people live in town. Remaining storefronts include a bank, post office, city hall and our little library.

Farmington Masonic Lodge, pictured in 1909
Today, the library is a hub for community activity normally providing afterschool programs, story times, book clubs and a popular place for local residents to meet.

Unfortunately, with the library closed due to Coronavirus, services are currently limited to online resources, Wi-Fi access near the building and materials being picked up curbside or delivered to patrons via the mail. 

I enjoy working in Farmington for a number of reasons. I came from the Seattle area to attend college at Washington State University and was taken with the area. After marrying a farmer, my love of the rolling hills and the small towns of the Palouse has only deepened.

And, I’ve always loved reading. As a child I would lay atop the stairs reading by the light drifting from the living room while my parents assumed I was fast asleep. Later as a mom and now a grandma, I cherish the special bonds that come from reading with the ones you love most.

Whitman County Library Bookmobile in Farmington, 1968
And that is what makes being a librarian so special, sharing those joys of reading with the special people who live in Farmington.

The common routine for local residents is a visit to the post office, the bank and of course, the library.  I enjoy hearing about the books they are returning and helping them find a great read to take home with them.

The kids who visit the library bring the sunshine, something I am dearly missing these days. Reading to little ones, leading them in afterschool programs, or having them read aloud to me is so special and heartwarming.

Several of my library patrons have lived in Farmington their entire lives and love to share stories and memories from days gone by. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about the history of the town and people.

Travelers often stop in the library with questions about the town. One of my go-to resources is a collection compiled by former town clerk, Colleen Duty. Titled the Farmington History Collection, it includes old maps, deeds, documents, photos and details of the town’s history.  Another great resource for Farmington history is the Whitman County Heritage collection found at the library’s website at www.whitco.lib.wa.us.

Farmington, circa 1915, Service Station,
find more historical photos
Although I don’t live in Farmington, the community is so friendly and I really feel like I belong. I look forward to the day when the library reopens and the Coronavirus is just a notation in Farmington’s history books. 

*Photos courtesy of the town of Farmington and the Whitman County Library online Heritage Collection

Monday, June 29, 2020

OverDrive is postponing Big Library Read, originally scheduled for June 22 - July 13, to August. They are sorry for the inconvenience.

The Big Library Read is available June 22 through July 13! Borrow the featured title "The Darwin Affair" by Tim Mason with no waitlists or holds from Libby & OverDrive

Intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting, "The Darwin Affair" is breathtaking from start to stop." -- Wall Street Journal

London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later—and only a block away—Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Was Victoria really the assassin’s target? Are those closest to the Crown hiding something? And who is the shadowy figure witnesses describe as having lifeless, coal-black eyes? Read the rest of the summary at biglibraryread.com.

Use #BigLibraryRead on social media for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet from OverDrive!

Friday, June 26, 2020

NewsBank: Learn about Lady Liberty

Over 130 years ago this month, in June 1885 the Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York City from France

On June 17, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City – a gift from France as an expression of friendship, mutual desire for freedom, and to honor the late President Lincoln for his abolishment of slavery.

Read about Lady Liberty’s history from the Lake County News in NewsBank’s resource: https://bit.ly/3diOidL

NewsBank is a free resource from Whitman County Library - Explore and research people, events, and issues across the globe and throughout history, access NewsBank now.