April 29, 2019 – Douglas Education Service District Superintendent Michael Lasher and Roseburg City Manager Lance Colley have been named the Oregon Library Association’s Library Supporters of the Year.
Lasher and Colley were honored April 19 at an awards ceremony during the OLA Awards and Business Lunch in Vancouver, Wash.
Lasher and Colley were nominated by Roseburg Public Library Director Kris Wiley. In her nomination letter, Wiley wrote of the partnership that Lasher and Colley formed to open the Roseburg Public Library following the closure of the Douglas County Library System, as well as her experience joining the project.
“I experienced Lance's energy and enthusiasm for the library – a project he had no idea he would oversee in his final year as City Manager – and he sold me on his vision for the role Roseburg Public Library could play in the community. I met Michael soon after I arrived, and I immediately recognized that he, too, understood that the library would be an integral part of literacy and cultural activities in the greater Roseburg area and a complementary resource to the Douglas ESD,” Wiley said.
As part of the nomination process, Wiley collected letters of support.
Crook County Library Director Buzzy Nielsen told the OLA Awards Committee about the steps that went into making this project a reality, including convincing the county to gift the building to the city; garnering support from donors; working with architects to remodel the facility; coordinating contracts and consultants; and more.
“And through this all, Michael and Lance steadily directed everything,” Nielsen wrote. “It takes a village to reopen a library, but it also takes leaders to guide the village’s efforts. Without these two men’s vision, leadership, and drive, Roseburg would still be the largest city in Oregon whose residents couldn’t access free library service.”
In addition, Penny Hummel of Penny Hummel Consulting in Portland, who consulted on the local project, called Lasher and Colley’s work as library advocates “truly remarkable.”
“Today, the public library in Roseburg operates in a partnership with the educational service district, one which I am sure will bear much good fruit in the years to come,” Hummel said.