The Jefferson County Rural Library District will provide all residents of the District with free and equal access to the diversity of publicly available ideas and information.
The Library will accomplish this mission by effectively providing open and non-judgmental access to its resources and services without regard to race, citizenship, age, sex, handicap, creed, educational level, economic status or any other qualifying condition. The Library will strive to identify the current and future needs and interests of the District and the individuals within it.
The Jefferson County Rural Library District was voted into existence on November 7, 1978, having received approval of the majority of the voters at the general election. It was established as a Junior Taxing District authorized by law to establish, develop, and maintain library services in Jefferson County.
The Board of Trustees was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners with initial terms of five, four, three, two, and one years. The first meeting was held on April 19, 1979 with B.G. Brown, County Commissioner, presiding. As the first order of business the Trustees elected the Chairman Helen Shold, Vice-Chairman John D. Parker and Secretary Heather McManus. The first few months were given to planning and study of the duties and responsibilities and establishment of goals for the Library. Trustees were assisted by personnel from the Washington State Library in the search for a Library Director. Sharon Bodkin began as Director in July 1979 and served until 1986. In 1986, Judith Gunter was appointed Director.
During 1979, operating funds for the Library were provided by the County through Revenue Sharing. The Trustees set the original budget for collection from tax revenues in 1980 at $205,000.00 with a levy rate of 3987 per thousand dollar evaluation.
Facilities progressed from a small room in the Port Townsend Library to a portable classroom on the Chimacum School Campus, to a rented facility in Port Hadlock and finally to the present site of the Jefferson County Library building in Port Hadlock. This building was dedicated in April 1985. Funds for construction came from timber revenues and property tax revenues saved and invested for the building project. In 1991, voters approved a one-year excess levy to enlarge the facility to 10,000 square feet. The addition was dedicated in January 1992.
The District operates a Bookmobile Service throughout the east side of the County and contracts with Timberland Regional Library System and North Olympic Library System to provide service for the West End residents of Jefferson County.
The Friends of the Library group was organized in 1983 and they have been instrumental in raising funds for many special projects in the Library.
Volunteers have given of their time and talents to make a major contribution to the overall development of the Library from its inception to the present.
The Cooperative Libraries Automated Network (CLAN) linked this Library with Port Townsend Public Library and the Brinnon, Quilcene and Chimacum school libraries in 1994. In 1997, the Jefferson General Hospital and Jefferson County Historical Society collections were added to CLAN. The Chimacum School Libraries withdrew from CLAN in 2000. Online Public Access Catalogs located in each library are used to search all collections and enter requests for needed materials. A courier service is provided by the libraries to deliver items within the CLAN area.
Library director Judy Gunter retired effective March 31, 2000. Bill Mitchell was appointed Director effective April 3, 2000 and resigned in October 2001. Ray Serebrin was hired as the fourth Library Director of the Jefferson County Library in June of 2002.