The Aloha Community Library Association (ACLA) started in early 2011 with a few friends, neighbors, associates, and community activists meeting for coffee to discuss the possibility of forming a new library for the community of Aloha. From that early beginning, a swell of community grass roots activism took hold of those involved and started the amazing journey of creating a library from the ground up. The journey included learning about the technical specifics of library formation in Oregon, Washington County, and specifically Aloha. It also entailed learning how to create the necessary 501(c)(3) non-profit legal documents, which included articles of incorporation, bylaws, etc., and registering with state and federal agencies to enable legal fundraising activities to support the library.
The library established a website and social media presence on both Facebook and Twitter early on to communicate with the community and share its progress toward opening. Library supporters staged a well-attended “sneak peek” event in early December, 2011 that sparked community interest, though at that time the space that would become the library was just an empty shell of what would soon become the Aloha Community Library. The highlight of that evening was the first book checkout, Packy and Me, written by local celebrity Dr. Mathew Maberry and his wife, Patricia Maberry. The book was checked out to Zachary, the child of dedicated volunteer family and long-time library supporters Becky and Terrill Jarvis.
The Association wrote strategic plans that involved reviewing and summarizing demographic analyses of the area, creating a budget, outlining a development and fundraising plan, setting short and long term goals, and other important business startup tools. They learned the basics of fundraising, and demonstrated their newfound knowledge and skills by raising over $40,000 before opening day. This was a remarkable feat for a group of relative strangers united by the common mission of providing a library for the community of Aloha.
During the summer of 2012, the Association began its first reading program thanks to a wonderful grant from the Washington County Cultural Coalition and the Beaverton Rotary Club. Over 100 children and adults were served during an 8-week period in July and August of 2012. The library opened as a community library on September 22, 2012. Offered before the library even opened, the Wednesday morning Family Storytime program has continued to grow, and the library now also hosts a Toddler Storytime every Monday morning as well. As of July, 2013 the library had issued over 1400 library cards to local residents and steadily increased circulation to over 2300 items/month with over 9,000 items in its collection. The library also serves the community with free Wi-Fi and Internet service, and six public access PCs.
Thanks to the passage of Measure 34-245 in November 2015, the library became the newest member of Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) in July, 2016. Now, just over four years after its initial opening in 2012, the Aloha Community Library is poised to open in a new location as a full-service member of WCCLS in December, 2016. Learn more about the transition here.
Additional background information is available at the ACLA wikipedia site. See History of Washington County Cooperative Libraries for information about other libraries in the cooperative.