|418 East Main Street
P.O. Box 450
Athena, Oregon 97813
email: athenalibrary @ cityofathena.com [remove spaces]
Support for these services comes from the Athena Public Library, Libraries of Eastern Oregon (LEO), and the Wildhorse Foundation.
Program photos of 2005-2008: Stargazing, Summer Reading, Storytime, and more
Other photos coming soon!
The library is free to all residents in the district. To check out materials, please obtain a library card.
Internet -- The library has four public access computers for internet access (emails, research) with wireless hookups facilitated through an agreement with the Athena-Weston School District. Minor children need to have a parental or guardian signature to use these.
Meeting space -- The library's meeting room is available by advance reservation at no fee for use by community groups and local organizations. External and commercial groups are encouraged to make donations for its use. Some equipment is available; check with staff at time of reservation. The room set-up and clean-up is the responsibility of the users. By arrangement, groups can also use the fireside lounge and/or the Local History room.
Story Time -- A story time for ages 0 - 6 meets during the school year on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. The program is geared to ready-to-read and craft activities. Parents, caretakers, grandparents are all encouraged to bring children to the program. There is no fee.
Summer Reading -- Each summer, the library hosts a FREE reading and activities program for elementary school age children.
Displays and Events -- Rotating art displays in the library feature local and regional works including models, collectibles, quilts, prints, photographs, heritage items, oil paintings, watercolors, and more. Special events including lectures, movies, computer games (Wii, etc.), craft workshops and other programs are held throughout the year. Some are in cooperation with the Umatilla County Special Library District, Libraries of Eastern Oregon, and the Pendleton Art Center's outreach program. The librarian welcomes suggestions from the community for programs.
The Athena Book Group meets on the second Monday of each month throughout the year. Discussion leaders rotate among participants. All are welcome to come to meetings, participating as time and interest allows. Everyone has an opportunity to nominate books (approximately quarterly) for the sessions. Variety is emphasized and selected books are both non-fiction (biography, travel, etc.) and fiction (bestsellers, mysteries, classics, etc.). Over the past year or so, books have included: Freedom Writers, The Help, The Hotel At The Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress, Little Bee, Life of Pi, In The Bleak Midwinterand The Stubborn Twig.
The Local History room is available for browsing and research during library's open hours. Individuals should sign in with staff before using materials. A hand-held scanner is available if copies of fragile materials are desired. Mail or phone requests for information from patrons outside the district will be researched by staff as time allows; a fee of $15/hour is requested.
Fees are also charged for use of FAX machine, computer print-outs, photocopies, and overdue or damaged materials.
The new Athena Public Library was completed in 2008 and first opened its doors on July 14th. The formal dedication was held September 5, 2008. The building project was then gifted to the city, debt free, on July 9, 2008. During its first year, the library circulated 7000 items; the number continues to grow. Interlibrary loansare increasingly popular. Programs have increased in number, variety, and participants. The meeting room and fireside lounge have hosted many, many gatherings. The four public access computers get a great deal of use. The audio book, DVD, and music CD collections have expanded, as has the book collection.
Community support for the project, spearheaded by the Athena Library Friends Association (ALFA), was tremendous throughout the fund-raising, planning, and construction process.
The earliest Athena Public Library opened its doors on November 18, 1914, with Anna (Mrs. William) Littlejohn as librarian.
Early volunteer directors of the library included Mrs. Marvel Watts, Mrs F.S. LeGrow, Mrs Henry Dell, Mrs. Anna Foss, and Areta Barrett. For many years, the library shared space with the telephone company switchboard in the building next to the bank -- what is now Somewhere in Time. One long-time user recalls that it was "dark and dreary."
The present location's property was deeded in 1958 under the will of Vernita Watts Adams and the Foster family to the City of Athena with the proviso that the property always be designated for library use, or it would revert to subsequent heirs. The old library's front room was built with community donations and monies from contributions made in memorials and in wills; the back room was added with funding from the Watts Foundation.
In spring 2007, the library was cleared out to prepare for summer's demolition of the old building and start-up construction of a new facility, which was completed in June 2008 and opened in July. The building project was coordinated by the Athena Library Friends Association (ALFA) in accord with the guidelines of City Council resolution 2006-1. A temporary library was set up for just over a year adjacent to City Hall in the old ambulance bay.
The new 2008 library building more than triples available useful space, has energy efficient fixtures and mechanicals, meets American Disability Act requirements, provides staff and volunteer work space, includes a meeting room, and has separate children's, young adult, and local history areas.
In the late 1980s, Athena agreed to become part of a consortium of libraries under the Umatilla County Special Library District (UCSLD). That consortium includes a dozen libraries.
UCSLD is a taxing entity and administers direct funding to each contracted city for employee salaries and operating expenses. Each city contributes a percentage of the overall library budget for building maintenance and purchases. Additional monetary support comes from grants, program fees, donations, and monies supplied by the city's Library Board and by ALFA, usually targeted to specific furnishings and projects.
The UCSLD also provides support services and special programming assistance, such as entering catalogued books into the SAGE online catalog to enhance inter-library loans and a courier service in cooperation with the Education Service District (ESD).
The library is also affiliated with Libraries of Eastern Oregon.
The Library Director, Carrie Bremer, is a City of Athena employee. Librarian predecessors have included Anna Littlejohn, Blanche Hodgen, Wuanita Taylor, Shireen Betts, and Delores Sheard. Kayla Durfee currently acts as a library assistant and substitute when needed.
Credits: Arachnophilia Web Design
This website revised November 2011.
All website materials -- text and photos -- copyright 2005-2011 by JHM Associates and the Athena Public Library.