By Kristie Kirkpatrick
The mission of Whitman County Library is to be our community’s #1 resource for education, recreation and discovery. To fulfill our mission, WCL is committed to serving people in the towns where they live. In an age where many agencies and businesses have pulled out of small towns, Whitman County Library is determined to stay put!
To that end, WCL provides service from fourteen countywide locations, covering 2159 square miles and 15,700 residents. People are often surprised to learn that Whitman County has fifteen towns, let alone fourteen full-service libraries, each offering Wi-fi Internet access, community programs and more. Here is a brief description of each library:
Albion has contracted with the library since 1946, annexing to the district in 1983. The size of most living rooms, Albion offers a full service library with materials and children’s programs including Saturday story times. Free Internet is the most popular service in this library with users lining up for computers.
The Colfax branch has served as the headquarters of operation for Whitman County Library District since our inception in 1946 and the only facility owned by the district. Thanks to generous donations from the community and others, the building was renovated in 2010 adding an elevator and accessible restrooms, expanding public computing and introducing Hayden’s Corner, a new Rain Forest for children in memory of a beloved young patron, Hayden Klaveano.
The town of Colton contracts with WCL for library service and has done so since 1946 when Mayor Druffel signed the very first contract. Today, children’s programs are very popular in Colton, with Summer Reading and a visit from the Palouse Discovery Science Center being a highlight.
Business is booming in our newly renovated Endicott Branch. Thanks to the Endicott Community Club, Inland Northwest Community Foundation, Avista, the Thrifty Grandmothers, USDA and countless donations, this thriving little library is now free of harmful toxins and odors.
Farmington is the smallest town served by Whitman County Library with a population of just 153 people. This full service library is open just eight hours per week and shares a space with the town hall.
Garfield began contracting with WCL in 1958 and today provides great programs for children and adults, public computing and outreach visits to the LaDow Retirement Facility delivering materials and services.
Thanks to the generosity of the community and two economic development grants, the Lacrosse Library recently moved into new digs at the Lacrosse Market. Thanks to the larger space, use of library materials, Internet and children’s programs like Play and Learn are rapidly increasing.
The remote community of Lamont annexed to the Whitman County Library District in 2012 and the town is in the process of completing a library branch facility. In the meantime, residents can access books by mail and other services from the library’s website, utilize all other WCL branch locations and have a book return in their town for convenient return of all materials. Special thanks goes out to Malden’s mayor for assisting in the process.
The Malden Branch began operating in 2004 and annexed to the district in 2011. Grant funding built and operated a brand new library and computing center. When grant funds ended, the Town of Malden stepped in to expand library hours for its community.
Oakesdale began contracting for library service in 1958. Today the library is housed in a site formerly operated as a bank. A recent donation by First Wind has expanded both adult and children’s programming for area residents.
The Palouse Library started in 1920 with Xenodican Club members soliciting donations, a permanent location and volunteer staff. Today the Xenodicans are still the heart of the Palouse Library, supporting its programs through fundraisers and work parties. A full history of the Palouse Library can be found on our website
The Rosalia Library is a busy place boasting great programs, services and a convenient main street location adjacent a park, ideal for summer children’s programs. Thanks to a recent donation from First Wind, the Rosalia Branch is now open on Saturdays too.
The St. John branch shares space with the city hall and museum in a beautiful building that was constructed in 2007 thanks to the generous support of the community. St. John has long been the library system’s busiest branch, with quality library and outreach services.
The Tekoa Library annexed to Whitman County Library with an 80% approval in 2005. One of our busiest locations, the Tekoa Library shares a space with the town’s museum with more than 400 items from their collection being digitized and available from the Whitman County Rural Heritage collection.
WCL has been in partnership with Uniontown since 1946, providing library service to this community of 345 people. Housed in their historic town hall, plans are being made to expand the library and its services.
Whitman County Library provides branch services thanks to partnerships with town governments, which provide facilities to the district at no charge. We also depend upon the enthusiastic support and generosity of Friends of the Library to stretch our tax funded budget even further. If you would like to help make a difference, please contact the library today.