The turning of a year is always a time for hope, renewal, plans and goals, and for shining a new perspective on the past year. 2020 was a year of upheaval, chaos, shifting gears and a quiet intensity. I am not sad to see it in the rearview mirror.

And yet, it was a year of valiant, compassionate and generous actions, and seeing my home, my community, my country and my library with new eyes. As we move into 2021, I want to take a moment to look back at 2020, and highlight a few things coming up as we move into the new year.

I have always been proud to be a librarian. Watching my colleagues innovate and modify to continue providing services to their communities during unprecedented and extremely challenging times was uplifting and inspiring. Library staff members have acted with caring and innovation: partnering, changing their service models and balancing service with safety, to make sure that people had the information, resources, education support and entertainment that they needed to get them through traumatic times.

Our programs and story times went online or outside. From hula hoops to yetis to mystery bags to virtual photography competitions to the ingenious use of technology, the range and creativity of ideas was fabulous. Please thank your library staff members when you get to see them. They miss you just as much as you miss them.

As we look forward to a new year, libraries are busy planning, challenging themselves to not only continue excellent service, but also to raise the bar. Beginning in January, we start off with the C.S. Jackson Memorial Fund grant, which provides funding for the Umatilla County public libraries to purchase materials that highlight Umatilla County, Eastern Oregon or Oregon State history. This fund was established many years ago and allows the libraries to purchase materials of historical importance for their community.

Hermiston Public Library has several monthlong events in January, in addition to their ongoing craft, book club and story time programs:

• A foster care coat drive for Sweet Potato’s Closet. Coats should be in good condition, all sizes accepted.

• Find a Snowflake in your book at checkout and win a free movie voucher.

• Poetry contest for adults and children — check the library’s Facebook page or website for details.

• Teen New Year’s Resolution Video — need some motivation to stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Email a video of yourself fulfilling one or more of your resolutions to and win a prize. Videos will be posted on the Hermiston Public Library’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

These are just a few of the many upcoming library programs in the new year. Check with your local library for their upcoming events to beat the winter blues. For contact information, visit

Thank you for your support of libraries. Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a healthy and happy new year.


Erin McCusker is the district director of the Umatilla County Special Library District. Reach her at 541-276-6449 or

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