On the morning of Tuesday, February 23, 2016, robbers broke in to the Illinois Valley branch of Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. (JCLI), ransacked the building, and stole cash and other items. The Illinois Valley library is located at 209 West Palmer in Cave Junction.
The perpetrators cut phone and Internet lines and also destroyed the fuse box. The front door window was shattered. Every drawer and cabinet was opened and items tossed about and vandalized. Children’s toys were thrown out on the lawn.
Although no computers were stolen, the computer screen for the visually impaired appeared to be damaged and an iPad was stolen. Also, cash from the register and the Illinois Valley Friends of the Library book store was stolen. A special collection of rocks and minerals was stolen out of a display case. Library staff and volunteers are still assessing the damage.
Because the phone lines were cut, the alarm system had been going off for an undetermined amount of time without the security company being notified. Illinois Valley Branch Manager Roberta Lee happened to drive by on her day off and saw the damage. She immediately called the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and filed a report. Because of the lack of law enforcement in the county, it is unclear whether there will be an investigation.
“It will be some time before we will be up and running again,” said JCLI Executive Director Kate Lasky. “We will remain open for reading during regular hours and continue operations on a limited basis.” Programs will continue as scheduled, she said.
These programs include the Wednesday Families at Play baby-parent group and afternoon storytime and the Saturday storytime. People can browse and read, but books cannot be checked out until the damage is repaired and the building restored.
“I am at a loss for words to describe my sadness and disappointment,” Lasky said. “I want our volunteers and donors to know that we will continue to work together to repair and rebuild our Illinois Valley branch. Our community deserves better.”