By Esther Moberg/For Seaside Signal
The Seaside Public Library has been supported for over a hundred years by community members who love our library and all it stands for. From its formation by a woman’s civic group here in Seaside, our library has been always focused on reading services in the community. The library is the one place anyone in the community can walk in the doors and receive services free of charge.
To mention just a few: free Wi-Fi in the library, free computer time, free paperback books, free programs, and free help finding the local resources you need. In a world where most things have a fee attached to it, the library is the last place where we truly do provide as much as possible for free. Of course to get a library card, you do have to support purchasing books and services either by paying your property taxes or buying an out of town card.
We have funding to support all of these services as well as staff time and materials for the library. So many people love and support the Seaside Public Library. In lieu of listing all of the people who support the library because it would be a very long list and I know I would leave out many important people, it’s important to know that those who support the Seaside Public Library are very important, and we value what you do.
The Friends of the Library group supports all library programs, and the Library Foundation Board supports the long-term goals of the library. These are two of the biggest groups that support our library. For more information on how to join either group, you can get more information at the library. But we also have many individuals who support the library both privately and publicly. All I can say is: Thank you for all you do.
One very special man who was a friend of the library was Elbert Groot. His legacy continues here at the library. I never had a chance to meet him but according to the previous library director Reita Fackerell, she shared the following in 2007 and it is worth sharing again. Reita met Mr. Groot back when the library was located on Highway 101 where Cleanline Surf Shop is now located.
One morning when she opened the front door of the library, there was a very tall elderly man waiting to be let in. When she opened the door, Mr. Groot handed Reita a crumpled piece of paper and told her it was for her. It looked like a bank statement. She honestly thought Mr. Groot was homeless and she thought maybe it was a piece of paper from the parking lot he had picked up for the trash can. Mr. Groot then asked to talk to her in private. He told her the paper was his stock portfolio and he wanted it to go to building a new library. By this point Reita thought maybe Mr. Groot was a little crazy.
After talking for a while, Reita finally realized this was real, Mr. Groot was sincere, and his stocks portfolio was worth $500,000. Mr. Groot loved libraries and simply wanted to help the Seaside Public Library get a new building. Thanks to Mr. Groot, this was the start of the new library building program, and the new library building was finished in 2008.
When Mr. Groot was young he had dropped out of school to join the Merchant Marines. While he was serving, he spent a lot of time in the ship’s library. Afterward, instead of going back to school, he spent all his spare time in the public library to complete his primary education. When he went on to higher education his test score was one of the highest in the state and he credited it to his time in libraries. He worked throughout his adult life all over the world as an accountant for private industries and he told Reita many stories about his time in Ghana.
Reita had a great relationship with Mr. Groot. She would take him grocery shopping every week. He didn’t have any family so library board member Cindy Svennson would have him over for dinners and holidays. He invited Ms. Fackerell over for dinner one time and he served Top Ramen. She got the seasoned pork flavor but he liked his plain, so he gave her his seasoning packet to take home. He ate standing up. She would also take him out for lunch to KFC or Dairy Queen, his favorite choices.
Mr. Groot was a very special man. Sadly Mr. Groot passed away before the library was opened in 2008 but his love of libraries is still with us today in the beautiful Seaside Public Library building. Next time you stop by you can check out his name over the bookstore and also his sea chest which he gave to the library. As you can tell, the heart of the Seaside Library is our community and more specifically all of the individual, unique, and wonderful people who love and support the Seaside Public Library.