Quincy's jewel turns 10

Quincy's branch of the NCW Libraries system turns 10 this month. 

Part 1 of a multi-part series

Being a mom, there’s only one way that Schiree Ybarra could describe the process that ended up with the city having a new library back in 2011.

“I still to this day describe our building project from concept to reality as pregnancy and delivery,” said Ybarra, the lead librarian for Quincy’s branch of the North Central Regional Library system.

“Pregnancy, you’ve got the good days and the bad days and the hormones and you’re all over the place, and some days you just want to quit and give up. Then, delivery, with the pain and the final (work) of moving in and getting everything put together. It’s hard and all of a sudden it comes to life and we are here every day coming to work, and it’s a dream.”

And, as expected, there could only be one way she could describe her feelings toward the building she works in now.

“This is my baby,” she says of the building. “I’m very passionate about this building and I love the way it turned out.”

And she is not the only one who feels that way. Her coworker Dottie Van Baugh was also in on the idea from the beginning, and has been with the library for about a decade and a half.

“And we both absolutely love it,” Ybarra said. Dottie was on vacation and could not comment for this article.

The building in question was not in the cards for a very long time.

“It wasn’t something that we had planned,” she said, crediting instead the city leaders at the time with the idea of building a new library for Quincy.

“The city of Quincy, the City Council and the mayor, they were wise enough to know, when we were having all the data centers coming into our area, and we had all the extra tax dollars coming into our community,” she said. “They were wise enough to set money aside for different projects in our community that are going to be here in our community for the long haul.”

It started with about $500,000, to which the city added another half-mil the next year. Then the hunt for grants started, and that took several years.

“It ended up being like a five-year project from concept and idea to opening the doors,” Ybarra said.

The doors opened Dec. 19, 2011.

The mayor at the start of the project was Dick Zimbelman, and the mayor at the end was Jim Hemberry.

“It was all a dream at the very beginning,” Ybarra said. “So we dreamed big.” A long succession of meetings ensued, followed by road trips to libraries in places like Seattle and Spokane, and

“We learned as we went,” she said.

The result of all this work was a building that was (and is) three times the size of the library it replaced, which was growing smaller and smaller by the day and which has since been demolished.

“Most of the time when we did activities, we ran out of room,” said Ybarra, who just reached her 27th year as librarian in Quincy this past Dec. 1. “We had to take our activities outside because we didn’t have enough space.

The new building came with features like a quiet reading room, a study area, as well as some astounding amenities for a town of Quincy’s size, like the heated sidewalks, which Ybarra calls a huge bonus for the safety of the library’s patrons, who now don’t fear slipping as they walk in or out.

“We kind of put all dreams together and came up with a floor plan,” Ybarra said. The only wishlist item that got the downturned thumb was the idea of getting a TV. Ybarra says she herself turned that down, saying there may be better ways to get taxpayer dollars put to good use.

One interesting side effect of having been through the “pregnancy” of a brand new library, is that library staffs in other towns of the NCW Libraries system that want a new library, reach out to Ybarra to find out what it’s like.

“I was a test dummy,” she said with a laugh.”

Test-dummy no longer, Ybarra relishes watching the reaction of folks who visit the library, sometimes coming from miles around, just to check it out.

“Our library is so big and beautiful, so nice and new,” she said. “We take good care of it, our patrons, our public, our workers, everybody cares about it and they maintain it nice and clean.

It’s been 10 years, but the building still has a new-ish feel to it. One thing that is definitely getting old is this pandemic, which will keep the community from celebrating its library’s milestone like it deserves.

Instead, Ybarra said, the library staff will wait until the spring, and see if with the warmer weather and what they hope will be loosened regulations by then, they can host an open house.

Join the online forum

Discuss this article with your neighbors or join the community conversation. Powered by our sister paper, The Wenatchee World.