1921 Library-Picture taken 1973.JPG
First location of the Forest Grove Library, corner of College Way and 21st Avenue, c.1973.

The Forest Grove City Library is a member of the Washington County Cooperative Library Services (1976 - Present). The library had its centennial anniversary in 2009.

1 Essays
2 Links
4 Oral Histories
3 Organizations
4 Research
5 Timeline



Oral Histories

  • Volume 3: The 1970s & early 1980s. Interviews with David Pauli and Michael Smith, former employees and current volunteers. Also includes a public cable production of the FGL 75th anniversary celebration that includes speeches by Dr. Margaret Gilbert, Jeanette Hamby, Gib Paterson and Connie Fries.




FG Library Timeline


Political and church groups kept reading rooms downtown. A few storekeepers kept books available for lending in their stores. Eventually, these materials were donated to the newly founded library.


Hatchet: “Forest Grove Freethought Library and Reading Room is open every Thursday and Friday” and is kept by “Mrs. A.E. Barker, librarian,” also leader of the Freethinkers Sunday service.


Ester Davidson refers to the “Reading Room” of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), rented and run in a small upstairs room in Forest Grove. “Mrs. L.M. Hollinger collected $25 each month in 25 cent subscriptions from members” of this WCTU library (Gilbert). Mrs. Hollinger was appointed to the first Library Board in 1906.


Miss Emma Penfield opens a book and stationary store on the NW corner of College Way and First Avenue North (now 21st Avenue). The building was a millinery owned by the Burdans, who expected Miss Penfield to watch after their “Rest Room.” Miss Penfield kept her own books for workers to borrow or buy.

The first library (1905-1919) was a long and narrow set of rooms, 25 feet wide and approximately 90 feet long and was entered from present day 21st Avenue.


The first Library Board meeting was held January 30th, as appointed by the city council, in Miss Penfield’s free reading room. She was elected first librarian.


December: Library Board asked the city council to vote on a one mill tax for support of the library; the council accepted and levied the first library tax.

Mrs. O.M. Sanford became Forest Grove’s librarian (1908 – 1928).


April 15th: Mrs. Adeline Rogers, a widow of Dr. G.O. Rogers and a Library Board member, signed a contract with the City of Forest Grove for the land upon which to create a free library.


January 20th: Fire swept through downtown, destroying dozens of buildings, including the library storefront. The fire started in or near the store owned by Mr. Sanford (the librarian’s husband). News-Times reported books were moved into community member's homes while the rebuilding took place.


The new library building opens, and books return. Some books were scorched but still preserved. Mr. J.S. Loynes won the bid to remodel, for just over 2300 dollars: "the contract calls for concrete floors and a Willamette cream colored pressed brick front." (News-Times)


Mrs Rogers wills the library 6000 dollars for materials, 200 to be spent each year until 1952.


Book collection doubled since the reopening. Librarian Sanford passed away after 20 years of service, and Mrs. May Holmes takes her place (1928-1937). When Holmes is ill, her husband fills in.


During this year, at the beginning of the Great Depression, the library was open 356 days. Hard economic times historically and currently mean higher library use for public patrons.


On July 6th, Mrs. John Bailey wrote an article in the News Times about our library’s history. Mrs. Bailey, who was the Library Board secretary for 15 years, praised Mrs. Rogers’ legacy: “She lived to realize that her dream had come true, for while the name “library” means books and their circulation, Rogers Library stands for a larger circulation of home spirit, comfort and good will…” (Gilbert, p. 2)


Mrs. Hazel Moore became city librarian (1937-1953), with her husband assisting with book repair and bindery service.


Mrs. Moore begins the enormous process of standardized cataloging of the library’s books, but “without an assistant to take care of circulation the task had not been completed.” (Gilbert, p. 6)


Mrs. Moore reports to the State Library: “The Board built a children’s alcove with low shelving, tables and chairs—which is a real improvement.”


Mrs. Moore reports to the State Library that the Rogers City Library was “completely renovated inside and the outside was painted.” (Gilbert, p. 6)


The library owns a whopping 7,035 books, and employs its first paid library assistant: Mrs. Nellie White. Mrs. Hazel Moore retires, and Mary M. Turley replaces her as City librarian (1953-1961).


With her assistant attending to circulation, Mrs. Turley worked hard at cataloging 2,500 books during the year after a card catalog cabinet was installed.


Jean Sleeth becomes librarian (1st span of service: 1962-1964).


Mrs. Katherine Gardner becomes librarian (1964-1966)


Mrs. Sleeth again becomes librarian (2nd span of service: 1966-1968), and reported to the State Library that the Rogers City Library was supplying homebound patrons with books.


Thomas Bolling becomes librarian (1968-1971), the first official male librarian and the first librarian with a Master’s degree in library science.


William Gregory becomes librarian (1971-1974).


Michael Smith, Colleen Winters’ mentor and future Hillsboro Library Director, becomes City librarian. By City Council ordinance, the library becomes a city department advised by the City Library Commission.


The library moves to its current location on Pacific Avenue. The construction and furnishing of the building are funded entirely by federal grant. Our name is changed from Rogers City Library to the Forest Grove City Library, with the meeting room named in honor of Mrs. Rogers.