The Salem Public Library Foundation Board strives to funds library capital improvement in Salem.
We understand the importance of comfortable, safe space for people to gather, learn, and enjoy.
“The National Literacy Trust says that children who go to a library are twice as likely, as those who don’t, to read well. It is not just picking up a book. It is the social experience of reading, talking about the books, browsing, comparing what you have read with family and friends. Librarians are gate keepers in that process. They open doors to new worlds, new possibilities. They ask library visitors to evaluate the information on offer. Most importantly, they give access to narratives. Children and adults do not just need information to thrive as thinking beings, but stories. Libraries are the temple of story."
Current Capital Projects
The Salem Public Library Foundation continues to play a vital role in the current Library renovation project by providing funds for enhancements that otherwise couldn't have been done within the available budget.
Construction work is under way to make the Salem Public Library safer in an earthquake, improve accessibility within and around the exterior of the building, and make other critical improvements including replacement of Library shelving. These changes ensure the Library will continue to be a resource for the Salem community for decades to come. These upgrades are being paid for by a bond approved by voters in November 2017. The Main Salem Public Library renovation will be complete in Summer of 2021. More info here.
In November, Hacker Architects' innovative design for Salem Public Library's renovation project won Salem People's Choice Award and Colleagues' Choice Award.
These awards, given by the American Institute of Architecture Oregon's Salem Section, aim to educate and inspire our fellow citizens by showcasing architecture, interiors and landscape architecture projects. More info here.
Past Capital Projects
The Foundation Board has supported past renovation of the Library’s Anderson meeting rooms, the main floor open areas, and "Teen Scene." Andersen Room and Loucks Auditorium renovations included installation of up-to-date sound and video equipment. Planned by (and for) area youth, the "Teen Scene" opened in 2011 and is dedicated to of middle and high school age readers. Since the space opened, the Library has experienced a 25% increase in the number of books checked out by this age group. In 2014, the Children's Library was renewed to meet the increased community demand for our excellent children's services.
In honor and memory of Barb Cornell Gehlar, Paul Gehlar and the Salem Public Library Foundation funded a new reading room with an inviting, comfortable, beautifully design. We invite the Salem community to feel welcome in a pleasing, comfortable space. The Salem Public Library Foundation is grateful to be the recipient of Paul Gehlar’s generous gift to cover the cost of a majority of the project in Barb’s name.
A great supporter of the Salem Public Library, Barb Cornell Gehlar passed away on September 6, 2013. She was educated as an Interior Architect and had a sharp eye for excellent design which she practiced in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. After her return to Oregon, she became the interior designer for the major renovation and expansion of the Salem Public Library completed in 1991. During the planning she met Paul Gehlar and they quickly fell in love and married in May of 1992. Paul’s generosity now preserve part of Barb’s memory in the very building that meant so much to them, and to the Salem community.