Nancy Ledeboer, Chair of the Awards Committee, commended the Library Trustees for “their work over the past ten years or more to improve services and resources which have become increasingly constrained in the existing facility.” Describing the Trustees’ commitment to dozens of extra meetings, community-based work groups, and strategies to raise a construction budget of $3.7 million without an increase in local taxes, Ledeboer writes, “Thanks to this passionate and tireless advocacy, the library is now on the verge of almost doubling its size.”
Recognizing the Henigson family, Ledeboer writes, “The library is only as strong as the people in the community who believe in the value the library brings to all the residents it serves…Through his dedicated servant leadership, Bob worked with fellow Trustees to develop a plan to expand the library. Generous annual gifts from Phyllis and Bob supported capital projects and now the current expansion…WLA would like to recognize your visionary commitment by making your family Honorary Members of WLA at the upcoming Annual Conference.”
Senator Kevin Ranker also receives the Honorary Member Award for being a “policy maker who believes in the value of libraries in their communities. You encouraged the Orcas Library to consider the needs of the community, and then to plan ambitiously to realize that vision. With your support the Library was successful in securing a $1.4 million capital request that will expand the library and serve the residents of Orcas Island for years to come.”
In early 2008, Trustees Lois Cornell and John Ashenhurst convened a Citizens’ Committee to determine if the Board should expand the Library. After collecting data and exploring alternatives, the Committee recommended the Board “pursue expanding the building in order to relieve current crowding and accommodate future growth — provided that the construction is funded without using tax dollars.” The recession of late 2008 tabled the effort until 2013, when President Alan Lichter and the Board renewed the effort. Subsequent Boards, under Presidents Rachel Newcombe (2014), Donna Riordan (2015), and Margaret Payne (2016), with Director Phil Heikkinen and Board members Tom Fiscus and Regina Zwilling, collected additional data and, in 2015, engaged Owner Representative Liz LeRoy and architects Henry Klein and Partners to begin the project. The current Board, including new members Alexander Conrad and Martha Fuller, has secured nearly 90% of the funding and looks forward to celebrating the groundbreaking with the community early this summer. Construction will take a year. Donations to the expansion may be made to the Library, the Friends of the Library, or through the Orcas Island Community Foundation.