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The Clallam County Area and the North Olympic Library System
- About the North Olympic Library System
NOLS is a junior taxing district organized under the laws of Washington State and serving all of Clallam County, Washington. The Library includes the Main Library and Administrative headquarters in Port Angeles and branches in Clallam Bay, Forks and Sequim, an outreach program, and an array of web-based services. The NOLS staff consists of 52.45 FTE, the annual circulation for 2011 was 1,024,274 items, and the 2012 budget is approximately $4.2 million. The NOLS 2012 business plan was launched in 2011 and the Strategic Initiatives for 2012-2014 were adopted in July 2011. Each NOLS library has the support of an active Friends of the Library group. NOLS enjoys widespread community support and is actively engaged in developing numerous public/private partnerships to respond to community needs and improve and enhance service.
- About Clallam County
Clallam County consists of 2,670 square miles and has a population of about 71,400 people. It is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. The County stretches across the northern tier of the Peninsula, from Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point on the continental United States, to Discovery Bay on the east. It is bounded on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca and on the south by the Olympic Mountains. The county includes much of Olympic National Park and miles of unspoiled coastline, alpine meadows, temperate rain forests, and acres of farmland, including Sequim’s famous lavender fields. Recreational opportunities abound, including hiking, camping, bicycling, birding, fishing, kayaking, golf and cross country skiing. Major employers include the logging and forest products industries, tourism, the hospital and local government. Native American tribes include the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Lower Elwha Tribe, the Quileute Tribe and the Makah Tribe. The Seattle metropolitan area is approximately three hours away. The charming city of Victoria, British Columbia, is a short ferry ride from Port Angeles. The average annual precipitation ranges from 16 inches in the Sequim area to 120 inches in Forks, compared to Seattle's 38 inches. Temperatures are moderated by the maritime location, with winter lows rarely below 25 degrees, and summer highs rarely above 80 degrees.
- About Port Angeles
Port Angeles, located near the center of the county, is the county seat and largest city in Clallam County, with a population of about 18,000 people. Port Angeles is home to Peninsula College, which offers two- and four-year degree opportunities as well as non-credit adult learning classes, and Olympic Medical Center, the hospital serving the central and eastern regions of the County. The city enjoys a vibrant artists’ community and live music scene, as well as several wineries and restaurants with a local flair.
- About Sequim
About 15 miles east of Port Angeles, Sequim is a vibrant and growing community of approximately 5,000 people. Its roots are in farming and dairying, and today it is the center of a dynamic local food movement. Sequim and the surrounding Dungeness Valley are popular retirement locations. The Dungeness Recreation Area is nearby. Sequim offers retail shopping, including Home Depot, Costco, Ross and Staples.
- About Clallam Bay
Clallam Bay, Sekiu and Neah Bay, the communities served by the Clallam Bay branch, are located along the remote section of the Peninsula’s northwest coast. Scenic vistas and outdoor opportunities abound in this historical region, and the area is influenced by the strong presence of the Makah tribal lands. A cannery and commercial fishing strengthened the local economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Today Makah tribal enterprises and the timber industry are major employers. The relative isolation of this area fosters a strong community spirit.
- About Forks
The friendly community of Forks, population 3,500, provides a gateway to wild coasts, spectacular mountains and exotic rainforests. Its name comes from the fact that forks in the nearby Bogachiel and Calawah Rivers are nearby. Native American people have lived in this area for centuries. The city of Forks was incorporated in 1945. The local economy was built on agriculture and logging, but in recent years tourism has burgeoned, as fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels flock to Forks to see locales made famous by Edward, Jacob and Bella. Forks has an excellent Timber Museum, and it hosts a number of annual events including Rainfest and the Rainforest Run.
- About the Port Angeles Library
Thanks to a bond issue passed in 1994, in 1998 the Port Angeles Main Library moved from the original Carnegie building, now the Clallam County Historical Society Museum, to its current location. As the Main Library for the system, Port Angeles houses the system’s local history collection, as well as support departments such as Facilities, Information Technology, Technical Services and Administration. With a circulation of 1,024,274 items in 2011, it consists of about 25,000 sq ft. The Main Library is open 55 hours per week.
- About the Sequim Library
Consisting of about 6,000 sq ft, the Sequim Library was extensively renovated in 2009. Its 2011 circulation of 423,086 came close to that of the Port Angeles Library. Over 166,464 customer visits were logged in 2011. Population in the Sequim Library’s service area has grown substantially since the Library was constructed in 1982, and the Library is very heavily used. More space is needed for collections, computers and seating. The NOLS 2012 plan calls for a needs assessment and funding study for an expanded Sequim Library. The Library is open 55 hours per week.
- About the Clallam Bay Library
The first Clallam Bay Library was actually the retired NOLS Bookmobile, which was put on blocks and used as a branch until a building could be acquired and remodeled. Truly a community center as well as a Library, the Clallam Bay Branch is a local gathering spot for adults and young people of all ages. The Friends of the Library spearheaded a fundraising effort that resulted in an expansion of the building in 2008 from about 1,000 sq ft to nearly 4,000 sq ft. The expanded Library features a community meeting room that is heavily used by local non-profits and clubs. A total of 15,860 customer visits were recorded in 2011, and circulation totaled 24,790 items. The Clallam BayLibrary is open 44 hours per week.
- About the Forks Library
The Forks Library is located in a former bank building on Forks’ main street, in an excellent location in the heart of downtown, and just a block from Forks High School. It is the last remaining NOLS Library in need of a renovation, and a project is currently in the planning stages. The Library is at the heart of its community, and it is a popular gathering place for people of all ages. In 2011 more than 84,733 items were checked out, and more than 51,017 customer visits were recorded. The Forks Library is open 52 hours per week.