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  • To preserve and sustain the unique character of the Little Spokane River Valley, including it's open space and natural setting.
  • To maintain lower density zoning.
  • To protect the area's ecosystem including water quality, wetlands, priority habitat and wildlife, and dwindling native vegetation.
  • To encourage the development of area parks and natural areas.
  • To educate public officials of the concerns of the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley, and be pro-active when major issues are at the forefront.

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    Welcome to the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley

    Trails To The Library(s)
    by Tina Wynecoop
    "The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library."

    – A. Einstein

    Libraries are popping up all over our Little Spokane River community, and we're not just talking about the North Spokane Library on Hawthorne Rd. But let's begin with the library we are most likely to have used: the county library, established and supported by citizen tax dollars, had its beginning as a concept in 1938 when voters in Spokane and Pierce counties established ‘library districts' – the first in Washington State. Five years later, library services were initiated and since there were no buildings, the service operated out of the already established Spokane Public Library. Also in 1943 the first county library director was named: Margaret Grein, and, in 1948, the first district office site was purchased in Browne's Addition at 1604 W. Riverside (currently the location of Peterson Dental, across the road from Spokane Fire Station No. 4). Library service was to be provided through deposit stations, bookmobiles, and the continuing contract with SPL. The first bookmobile was purchased in 1951. In 1968 the North Spokane County library branch opened at 10503 N. Division St., -the current address of North Spokane Bicycle Shop, just north of Hawthorne on Division. (see footnote) Although the building has been enlarged, it is still the original library structure. In 1972 the library moved to its new site at 44 E. Hawthorne. Computer catalogs replaced card catalogues in 1991, and seven years later in-library public Internet access and dial-in phone access were added services. In 2008 SCLD purchased land for a future library branch at Perry and Hastings Road. Overdue fees were raised for the first time in 14 years in 2011 - still quite a bargain!

    Full-sized libraries are not a thing of the past – they remain precious democratizing resources for the communities they serve. And now little free libraries are showing up everywhere. According to a Seattle Times article, "In the Northwest and cities, suburbs, towns, and rural communities across the continent and even in countries like Ghana and China, in a single year, - more than two thousand simple, little ‘gestures of goodwill' have been built: Little Free Libraries. They look like a birdhouse on a post and are usually placed in front of somebody's house. What they contain are free books and are a phenomenon that began in Wisconsin in 2009 by two men, Rick Brooks, 64, and Todd Bol, 56. Their concept has become so popular that they have a hard time listing all the new LFLs on a map on their website: littlefreelibrary.org This website has tips, plans for making libraries, kits and even t-shirts. On it one can view a Google map of all the registered LFLs around the world.

    Every LFL has different books to choose from – all have been left by others to share with their neighbors – including children's literature, young adult books, novels, recent magazines, non-fiction books, and newly-released hardback books (but no political or religious tracts). One of your FLSRV board members is making a LFL to place along near his home along Little Spokane Drive. Another board member, on her daily walk with her best four-legged friend, spotted a little library already in place in the Blackhawk neighborhood. And now there is one installed on Hatch Road. My neighbor, Bob Duft, built a little free library for me. I painted it, gathered books, registered it, and my husband installed it on a large granite boulder that had been placed alongside the FLSRV trail, near the county pool. This LFL's registration is No. 10,297. It's on the map! It's now part of such a cool phenomenon. Come see it – take a book, leave a book. Build your own.

    - Footnote -

    In doing research for this article, I interviewed the owner of the bike shop, Michael Conley, who said that he had purchased the 10503 N. Division building from an old Scotsman named Marion Castle in 1989 after leasing/renting from him for five years. Castle also owned and ran a small trailer park where Wonderland is now. Castle initially used the building at 10503 as his office for his road building/ construction office.

    The current owner thinks Castle may have built the first runway at Fairchild. A previous tenant of the bike shop was a fellow who had a cabinet business, whose lease Michael Conley assumed. During intervening years, from 1968-1972, Spokane County Library District leased this same building for its north side branch, and after that the building was leased by Walter's Paint and Wallpaper. According to the current owner, there are still several walls with the original wallpaper in the center of the shop.

    Now it gets even more interesting to our Little Spokane River Valley history buffs: I searched for information about Marion Castle, the man who owned, leased, rented and then sold the building and discovered an article written by Frances Tipton and published in the Tri-County Tribune. Tipton was apparently the designated columnist for our area. He announced, in the September 6, 1956 edition of the newspaper that the Country Homes Kiwanis club would be holding a fund-raiser - an old-fashioned threshing bee on the ranch of Cecil Pounder. The attractions would be old farm implements, including an ancient steam threshing machine. No charges would be asked for admission, and sandwiches and other refreshments would be served and charged for, with the proceeds going to one of the club's latest projects: a horse riding ring for the children of the community to train their horses. "More and more children in this district are owning and riding horses and have no place to ride or train but the highway." [Hmmm, sounds like the precursor to the FLSRV trail system established in the 1990's!]

    The construction of the horse ring was done by our Scotsman and his Marion Castle Construction Firm located at 10503 N. Division. He built the ring at cost. Ira Fuson, another longtime valley resident reported that the project had the full support of all the youngsters and their parents, as was gleaned from attendees at the threshing bee held at the Pounder place on Sunday, September 13, 1956. The project was considered a most "worthy cause."

    © 2009 - 2019 Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley