Friends of the Chemeketa Library, A No Go?

Recently I contacted some folks at Chemeketa Community College about starting a nonprofit group to help support the library. It would be one way for me to give back to the school, since I am a graduate and frequent library user, using everything from the computers to books to specialized databases.

Here’s my original message:

I am interested in starting a community-based support group for the Chemeketa Library, modeled after the Friends of the Salem Public Library and the Salem Public Library Foundation. Who should I contact about this?”

Reference Librarian Kathleen Veldhuisen seemed supportive.

I am forwarding your inquiry to our director, Natalie Beach,  as the most appropriate person to begin a discussion with about a library friends group. . . . Thank you for your goodwill towards the library!”

Sadly the response from Natalie Beach (, the Director of Library & Tutoring Services, was underwhelming to say the least.

Dear Mr. Hill,

I appreciate your inquiry about a library Friends group. The Friends of the Salem Public Library is a wonderful, active group and a great asset for that community. You may not be aware that Chemeketa has its own Foundation that provides similar support for the college and for the college library. I do not see a need for a secondary Friends group at this time, but thank you so much for your interest in Chemeketa and the library.



My response to her wasn’t as diplomatic as it probably should have been, but I didn’t brandish as much firepower as I sometimes do.

I am disappointed in your response, but not surprised. A community-based group could help with all sorts of things, including fundraising. The Salem Library Friends group raised nearly $60,000 in 2008 while the Salem Library Foundation is approaching $2 million in assets. The foundation gave the interest and other donations totaling around $90,000 in 2008. Let me know if you change your mind or have any questions.”


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