Tillamook Library History
"A Library is a living organism, having within itself the capacity of infinite growth and reproduction. It may found a dozen museums and hospitals, kindle the train of thought that produces beneficent inventions, and inspire to noble deeds of every kind, all the while imparting intelligence and inculcating industry, thrift, morality, public spirit, and all those qualities that constitute the wealth and well being of a community."
F. M. Crunden in the "Exponent" (Oct. 31, 1907 Tillamook Headlight)

The early 1900s was an era of increasing awareness and support for the concept of free public libraries. During the fall of 1907 Miss Cornelia Marvin, Secretary of the Oregon Library Commission, traveled throughout Oregon espousing the benefits of free public libraries. On October 7, 1907 Miss Marvin met with Mr. H. T. Botts, Mayor of Tillamook, and the members of the Shakespeare Club. This meeting provided the impetus for passing a resolution at the Tillamook City Council meeting on October 21, 1907. The location of the first Tillamook City Library was in the Council Chambers at City Hall located on Ivy Avenue across the street from the current library. A budget of $300 was granted for the purchase of library books, magazines, supplies and the salary for the librarian.

In 1916 the new Tillamook City Hall was completed and the library moved to new quarters on the first floor. During the autumn of 1918 one of the worst epidemics in the history of the United States, the Spanish Influenza, hit Tillamook County. The second-floor auditorium in City Hall was used as a makeshift hospital. No ordinary flu, the complexion of sufferers turned bluish, their bodies erupted in purple blisters and hacking coughs supplied just enough oxygen to keep their bodies alive. From October of 1918 to February of 1919 schools, churches, movies, pool rooms and the library closed to combat the killer virus. The second-floor auditorium was the home of the Tillamook City Library from 1927 until safety issues prompted the move to the location on Ivy street in 1963.

Space limitations and budget constraints have been recurring challenges for the library. A Headlight-Herald article dated October 13, 1922 stated, "The city library is supported and receives its revenues from city taxation, but it has always been more or less handicapped for want of sufficient funds to keep the library up to a high standard. This appears to be what is causing the library board some anxiety at the present time, as the city budget, as tentatively prepared, only provides $650.00, whereas at least $1000.00 is required to meet the necessary expenses for next year." On October 19, 1922 the City Council increased the library budget to $900.00 per year and the remaining funds needed were donated by six white robed members of the Ku Klux Klan who walked down the street and donated $100 to the librarian. A small article appeared in the October 20, 1922 Headlight-Herald acknowledging the donation, "Much surprise and interest was felt by the few people who were about the streets when the Klansmen appeared for this was the first appearance of the white robed figures upon the street of Tillamook."

As the popularity of the library grew, so did interest in it from rural parts of Tillamook County. In June of 1945, Miss Eleanor Stephens, Oregon State Library Director, met with the Tillamook Library Board to discuss the importance of establishing a county library to help get, "books to everyone in the state." On April 29, 1946 the Tillamook City Library Board sent a letter to the Tillamook County Budget Committee describing the need for countywide access to library services and asking them to establish a county library. Their initial request was turned down, but a county library system was established the following year in 1947. Dorothy Doyle was the first County Librarian. Her enthusiasm for providing library materials to isolated farm patrons and establishing library branches provided the framework for the countywide library system in place today.

Once funds were approved in July of 1947, the Tillamook City Library ceased to exist and the Tillamook County Library, consisting of the main library and two library branches (Garibaldi and Manzanita), began operation. The herculean efforts of citizens to establish and maintain branch libraries are lasting legacies to the communities of Tillamook County. The Garibaldi Library Association formed a library club on November 14, 1928 and for 27 years the library club ran their small library entirely through volunteer efforts and fundraising events. The Manzanita Library was formed in 1930 in the law and real estate office of Mr. Ben Lane. After a series of moves, the Pine Grove Community House became home to the library. In 1987 the new Manzanita Library, designed by local architect Tom Bender, was completed. A community showplace, the Manzanita Library exists because of the massive community effort and support of citizens in north Tillamook County. The Bay City Library also joined the Tillamook County Library as a branch in 1947. In 1922 a small group of women collected books and established the Bay City Library. Residents of Bay City paid an extra $1.00 on their water bill to pay for a new fire truck but, once the fire truck was purchased, residents voted to continue paying the extra $1.00 to build a library annex onto the new City Hall. The new library opened on April 1, 1964. Other early efforts to reach beyond the city limits of Tillamook included the purchase of the first bookmobile which was dedicated on July 2, 1948. The bookmobile has been in continuous operation (except for a one year period in 1951-1952) providing library materials countywide and serving area schools by supplying supplementary materials to teachers and students.

The newest branches to join the Tillamook County Library are the South Tillamook County Library and the Rockaway Beach Library. The South Tillamook County Library opened July 3, 1971. Since the spring of 1973 members of the South Tillamook County Library Club have maintained the library building and purchased supplies. The County pays for library staff and provides library materials. On November 25, 1995, after an inspirational fundraising effort on the part of the South Tillamook County Library Club, the new Winkleman Library opened to the public. Proceeds from the Thrift Shop and a variety of creative community events continue to provide funds for the maintenance and operation of this branch.

The efforts of the Rockaway Women's Club were behind the establishment of the Rockaway Beach Library. The Women's Club changed their name to the Friends of the Rockaway Beach Library, obtained grants to turn their existing building into a library and on July 3, 1999 over 400 people showed up at the opening of the newest library branch. The efforts of individuals and groups working together to establish and maintain branch libraries provides an inspiring social history of the value placed on libraries in Tillamook County.

The Tillamook County Main Library has served as the hub for all county library activity for many years. In 1963 funds were approved to purchase the Haupert Motor Company from Dr. Clemens Hayes. $32,000 was spent to renovate the car dealership and on October 13, 1963, the new library was dedicated. After almost 40 years of heavy use, this building had deteriorated to such a point that it was no longer a financially viable option to upgrade it to house the bulging collection. Voters defeated a measure for a new library building in November of 2002. A bond for a new Tillamook County Main Library passed on September 16, 2003. Groundbreaking for the new Main Library started in March of 2005.  The new Tillamook County Headquarters Library opened September 30, 2006!

Today, libraries are ushering in an era of unprecedented service. Patrons obtain live chat reference service on the internet at Answerland (www.oregonlibraries.org) as well as search the library catalog (http://encore.oceanbooks.org) from the comfort of their favorite armchair.  Books, e-books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, books-on-tape, and videos provide access to informational, educational and recreational materials improving the quality of life for the entire community.

For more information about the history of the Tillamook County Library, check out The Public Library in Tillamook County 1907-1987 by Ruth M. LaFrance. Several copies are available.


Locations Marker

Tillamook County Library Branches


571 Laneda
Manzanita, OR

Rockaway Beach

120 N Coral
Rockaway Beach, OR


City Hall
Garibaldi, OR

Bay City

Community Hall
Bay City, OR


1716 Third Street
Tillamook, OR

South Tillamook County

6200 Camp Street
Pacific City, OR


1716 Third Street
Tillamook, OR
503.842.4792 ext. 1710

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