A new library located next to Yale Elementary School has provided residents in the community with expanded resources since it opened in July of last year.
The library was made possible through a partnership between the Yale Valley Regional Library District and Woodland Public Schools.
Lesley Miller, senior branch supervisor for both the Yale Valley and Yacolt libraries, said the library got its start as a handful of bookshelves in the lobby of the school. Ran by the Fort Vancouver Library District, the Yale Valley Community Library (YVCL) has since grown to its own building.
“Over years of partnership, work, and fundraising, they were able to get this building up,” Miller said. “For our community, it offers the availability to come into an actual library in their backyard and not have to go all the way into Vancouver or Woodland.”
Miller said the library provides more than just books. Patrons are able to access online opportunities with their library cards. It also features two computers and a copy machine, Chromebooks that can be rented out, and the ability to put books on hold with the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District website. Library cards are free of charge for Yale Valley residents. The project was first proposed in 2003.
“It started with a bookmobile, which still runs in Skamania County, and (the YVCL) evolved to the bookshelves inside the school, and now here we are in the final big, beautiful, new building,” she said. “It’s been a process over many years. Our grand opening was in September 2021.”
Miller said the library is important because the area is rural and remote, so patrons have a guaranteed opportunity to hold books online and pick them up. Since the internet in the area is not always reliable, she said people can also use the wireless internet in the parking lot for free. Miller said people who come to the area on vacation can’t always access the internet and those who live in Cougar don’t have any internet access at all, so the library aims to help in that regard.
Those who don’t have printers can also come to the library to print out documents.
She said the library has greatly benefited the children in Yale Valley.
“It has been amazing so far,” Miller said. “(Students) come over once a month to browse and look, and we talk to them about the different things available with a library card. We have a story time, and now that things are opening back up after the pandemic, we’ll open up our children’s programs as well as adult programs. We’ll have adult book discussions, children’s story time, and things like that during the summer.”
Adults can go online to fvrl.org to practice their SAT and ACT tests, along with nursing tests and other opportunities, Miller said.
The library recently started its Mango program which helps people learn over 70 languages. People with a library card are also able to access the building during specific unstaffed hours, she said.
The Yale Valley Community Library is located at 11700 Lewis River Road in Ariel.
Staffed hours are from 2 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Unstaffed hours run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday through Sunday.
Library cards for those who do not reside in Yale Valley cost $11 for a three-month library card and $44 per person for an annual one. For households, it costs $28.75 every three months or $115 annually.
The library can be reached at 360-906-5000.