'We were not really prepared for how excited Eugene was for a new library'

'We were not really prepared for how excited Eugene was for a new library'

EUGENE, Ore. - The Eugene Library opened up in a new expanded location downtown 10 years ago.

"We were not really prepared for how excited Eugene was for a new library," said Connie Bennett, the library's services director. "People just burst in the doors."
 
Ten years later, 3 times more people are checking out books at the library than they did at the old building.

The secret? Tripling the space made room for more books - but they're not all bound. The library now has 20,000 downloadable items on their website.

"It's not replacing the hard copy, it's adding on top of that, so we have even more readers and more resources for people," Bennett said.

She siad there will always be a need for traditional libraries as a place to share information, but they'll need to make room on their shelves for more than just paperbacks.

E-readers are a big component of that future as they catch on more and more with readers.

"I thought I wasn't going to like it at all," said Sarah Schram. "It was a gift from my husband for Christmas, and I actually really like it."

While she made the switch, her son, Andrew, has a clear preference for books printed on paper, like "Good Morning, Digger."

"We've probably checked this out 5 or 6 times," Schram said.

Val Barlow works at the coffee shop in the library lobby and can see why people pick e-books - and why they still like traditional paper books.

"Theres something so thrilling about having a really big book," she said, "and getting through it and watching all the pages go by."