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Drain first opened its library in 1932 inside a local church and in 1934 was established as the Drain Public Library.


In 1952, the Drain Public Library joined the Douglas County Library System (DCLS) and in 1985 was renamed the Mildred Whipple Library. The library is now housed in the beautiful Drain Civic Center building, which is owned by the city of Drain.


The Mildred Whipple Library remained a branch of DCLS until March 2017, when the county could no longer afford to support the system and closed all its library branches.


Mildred Whipple Library Ground Breaking Ceremony, June 15, 1985

In April 2017 the Friends of the Mildred Whipple Library met to form an action plan for how to reopen our beloved library. During this time they also began communicating with City of Drain officials to help determine how to create a library customized for the community. A month later, at the town hall meeting, library surveys were distributed to community members. At the next town hall meeting, in June 2017, the survey results showed an overwhelming support of a full-service library with permanent, adequate, and stable funding. The Friends determined that the best way to provide this was through a library special tax district.

The North Douglas Library District campaign began in July 2017. Friends members hired an attorney with special district experience and met with a wide scope of individuals and organizations about how best to serve our community with a public library, including:

  • A Douglas County Clerk

  • North Douglas Parks and Rec.

  • A CPA

  • Joan Kerns of the Oregon Community Foundation

  • State Librarian, MaryKay Dahlgreen

Friends members also continued to actively engage the Drain community, presenting information and receiving feedback at the North Douglas County Fair, the Drain City-Wide Yard Sale, and other local events. At the August Drain City Council meeting they requested that council members pass a resolution allowing the formation of a special library district.

Since the Mildred Whipple Library had previously been part of a branch system, Friends members wanted to make sure they looked at all the options for a small town library and which directions our neighbor libraries were going. In August of 2017, Friends members attended the county-wide meeting about options for Douglas County Libraries. Based on our community needs, the special library district remained the best choice for our library.


In September, the Drain City Council voted yes on the resolution allowing the formation of a special library district and Friends members were able to meet with the Douglas County Planning Department.

From October through December of 2017, Friends members hosted a meeting of the Oregon Community Foundation’s Whipple Foundation Fund board, collected signatures to place library district measure on the ballot, delivered signature forms and additional paperwork to Douglas County Planning Department, and waited to hear if requirements were met for a spot on the May 2018 ballot (all paperwork must be turned in six months before election if taxes are to be increased).

2018 kicked off with Friends members attending and presenting at the first public hearing before the County Commissioners. In February, Friends members attended the second public hearing before Douglas County Commissioners and make presentations to local community groups.

The campaign for the North Douglas Library District officially began in April, with Friends members forming a campaign committee, who staffed library information tables throughout the Drain area, sent out information to citizens within the proposed district boundary, and encouraged the community to vote yes on the upcoming ballot measure.

In May 2018, library supporters held a pro-library rally and anxiously awaited the election results.


On May 15, resolution 10-162 passed with a 75.48% yes vote, effectively allowing the formation of the North Douglas Library District. This allowed a tax levy of $0.44 per $1000 of assessed value to fund the District, creating an approximate annual budget of $85,000 (excluding additional income from grants and donations).


Pro-Library Rally, May 2018


From May 15 to July 1, the North Douglas Library District members were required to take an enforced break.

In July 2018, the five North Douglas Library District board members were sworn in, letting the special district finally proceed forward.


A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the City of Drain for the library building use and utilities and board members met with a representative from the Whipple Fund of Oregon Community Foundation.

During the rest of summer and early fall, volunteers hosted Summer Reading for community members, board members received necessary training, and volunteers spent over 1,167 hours getting the library cleaned, inventoried, and collection weeded and updated.


Due to grants awarded, the library was able to push forward its grand reopening from January 2019 to the fall of 2018!

. . . to the Present

Finally, after a year and a half of hard work, the Friends and the Drain community celebrated the Mildred Whipple Library's Grand Reopening on November 10, 2018.


(Left) NDLD board members and MWL Friends members at the Grand Reopening, November 10, 2018.


(Left) Ribbon cutting ceremony during the Grand Reopening. Pictured: Anne Campbell (NDLD President), Lolly Frost, & Candy Vickery (Interim Librarian). (Right) Newspaper article courtesy of the Roseburg News Review.

Since our grand reopening, our community response has blown us away! The North Douglas Library District, and the reopening of the Mildred Whipple Library, would not have been possible without our incredible and dedicated volunteers and the interest of our community. We are a library built by our community for our community, and for that we thank you.

We would also like to give special recognition to the community members who have passed away, and whose advocacy helped reopen the library. In memoriam:

Patricia Aldous

Irene Johns

Eileen Kelly

Nancy Hess

May their passion for libraries continue to live on.

Why A Special Tax District?

  • A special district provides stable funding that can only be used for the library

  • It gives local control for an independent library, customizable to the specific needs of this community

  • The North Douglas Library District is managed by a 5 member volunteer board, elected by the community

  • The North Douglas Library District also partnered with the City of Drain to provide essential services and the library location

From the Past . . .

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