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Admissions Director Dedicates Community Library

by Sessions Staff | February 4, 2019

On Groundhog Day, Sessions College Senior Director of Admissions Kimberly O’Hanlon hosted a dedication ceremony for the first official Little Free Library in the city of St. Helens, OR. Kimberly serves as the Vice Chair of the Arts and Cultural Commission of St. Helens, a role that gives her the opportunity to participate in a wide range of community arts projects.

The Little Free Library is a global book-sharing movement that is active in “all 50 states and 88 participating countries.” Participating communities create a structure where a community can access a collection of books for free, a concept called “Take a Book, Share a Book” that combines literacy, accessibility, and community.

In order to create the first library, Kimberly approached the high school wood shop instructor with the project, who agreed to take it on as a learning opportunity for his students.

little free library construction

Q: Who designed the Little Free Library? How was it made? How do you anticipate library users using it?

Justin Waid, St. Helens High School Class of 2020, volunteered his time and skills to build the library. After reviewing hundreds of photos for design inspiration for the build, he chose one with a bench attached. He came up with the measurements and learned new techniques.

When complete, it was installed overlooking the river at Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park. People who live nearby or visit the park can either take a book from the library, or read in front of the peaceful Columbia river.

Q: What was your role in the process?

I spearheaded the entire project, with support from the other board members. While this wasn’t the first public art installation in which I’ve been involved, this library was the first that I took from concept to final installation. Throughout the process, I documented every step of the way for future reference, from my initial correspondence with the instructor, to my presentation for the Parks and Trails Commission for placement.

Q: What was fun or exciting about the process or end result?

I was really excited during the week leading up to the dedication ceremony. The Arts and Cultural Commission Chair provided support with public relations and event planning. Around 20 people showed up for the event, and everyone was in good spirits. It was really rewarding to watch Justin and his family see the library he built installed and full of books.

little free library promotion

Q: How have the Commission thought about promoting the new service, to ensure that the community is aware of the library?

The new Little Free Library was publicized through city government channels, local news, and the high school community. Everyone is really excited about the new addition! It is placed right on the beautiful waterfront, with a marina and boat launch nearby. In addition, since it is an officially registered library, it can be easily searched on the Little Free Library world map. The plan for the next two libraries is that they will be painted by local artists.

To find out more about the Little Free Library, visit The Chronicle. Visit  https://www.ci.st-helens.or.us/bc-acc to find out more about the Arts and Cultural Commission of St. Helens. Visit our Admissions team page to find out more about Kimberly O’Hanlon and the Sessions College Admissions team. 

Sessions Staff is a restless soul who loves to share Campus News stories with current and prospective students.

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