RIDGEFIELD — Minutes into her exploration of the new Ridgefield Community Library, Luci Groesbeck scoured the shelves, then found a comfy spot on a plush sofa.
The self-described bookworm also found a problem — a good problem to have.
“There’s so many books,” the 9-year-old said.
City officials estimated 500 community members came out to celebrate the launch of a bigger, better — and expanded — Ridgefield Community Library during its grand opening Friday.
Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries executive director Amelia Shelley invited all children 18 years and younger to be the first in line for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Friday’s grand opening. Several dozen participated.
“Libraries are really about the future,” Shelley said, “the future of this community, the future of their lives and the future of literacy.”
Community support and donations, including 75 individuals and businesses who gave $1,000 or more, helped contribute to the $3.6 million total funding to remodel and construct the new library. The final $500,000 needed to complete the cost came from grant money from the state’s 2020 capital budget. Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, of the 17th Legislative District and Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver, of the 18th Legislative District joined city officials, library leaders, and community members at the ceremony.
The celebration also poured into Davis Parks featuring food, book sales, arts and crafts tents, police vehicles and fire engines from the city of Ridgefield and Clark-Cowlitz Fire and Rescue for kids to browse and a scavenger hunt downtown.
Discussions for a larger library in Ridgefield began with facilities and pre-design studies in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Since then, fundraising efforts and donors raised the money needed to expand the library from its previously small space of 2,300 square feet inside the former Ridgefield Community Center to a nearly 8,000-square-foot of space at the same location.
In 2019, the Ridgefield Community Center Association donated their property to allow the library to remodel the space, expand services and also keep the library downtown at 210 Main Ave.
The expanded library features adult, teen and children’s literacy section areas, computer stations, study and meeting spaces, bookstore, laptop bar, and a community room. Added touches included whimsical wildlife that also serve as sound dampening pieces, and historical photos of Ridgefield on exterior windows surrounding the building.
Mayor Don Stose called the library a centerpiece of downtown. Friday’s celebration also fell on the city’s Main Street Day, which encourages community members to explore downtown Ridgefield’s businesses, restaurants, parks and services.
“This is all about the citizens of Ridgefield,” Stose said. “It’s all about you.”