At its annual conference in late April, The Washington State Library Association will honor the Orcas Island Library Board of Trustees, the Bob Henigson family (Phyllis Henigson and her sons, Jeff and Ted), and state Senator Kevin Ranker for their hard work toward and funding of the Orcas Library expansion project.
Nancy Ledeboer, chair of the awards Committee, commended the trustees for “their work over the past ten years or more to improve services and resources which have become increasingly constrained in the existing facility.” Describing the trustees’ commitment to dozens of extra meetings, community-based work groups and strategies to raise a construction budget of $3.7 million without an increase in local taxes, Ledeboer writes, “thanks to this passionate and tireless advocacy, the library is now on the verge of almost doubling its size.”
Recognizing the Henigson family, Ledeboer writes, “The library is only as strong as the people in the community who believe in the value the library brings to all the residents it serves … Through his dedicated servant leadership, Bob worked with fellow Trustees to develop a plan to expand the library. Generous annual gifts from Phyllis and Bob supported capital projects and now the current expansion… WLA would like to recognize your visionary commitment by making your family Honorary Members of WLA at the upcoming Annual Conference.”
Senator Kevin Ranker also receives the Honorary Member Award for being a “policy maker who believes in the value of libraries in their communities… With your support the library was successful in securing a $1.4 million capital request.”
In early 2008, Trustees Lois Cornell and John Ashenhurst convened a citizens’ committee to determine if the board should expand the library. After collecting data and exploring alternatives, the committee recommended the board “pursue expanding the building in order to relieve current crowding and accommodate future growth — provided that the construction is funded without using tax dollars.”
The recession of 2008 tabled the effort until 2013, when Board President Alan Lichter renewed the effort. Subsequent boards collected additional data and, in 2015, engaged owner representative Liz LeRoy and architects Henry Klein and partners to begin the project. The current board has secured nearly 90 percent of the funding. Construction will take a year. Donations may be made to the library, the Friends of the Library, or through the Orcas Island Community Foundation.