Illinois Valley library open and operating after break-in

To date, $9,700 in donations has been received to help with the repairs for the Illinois Valley branch of Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. (JCLI) that was burglarized last month.

On the morning of February 23, robbers broke in to the Illinois Valley branch, ransacked the building, and stole cash and other items including a priceless rock collection from the Kerbyville Museum. According to Kerbyville Museum Executive Director Dennis Strayer, some of the rocks and gems have been recovered. The perpetrators also cut phone and Internet lines, destroyed the fuse box, and threw children’s toys out on the lawn.

“I’d say our library is fully functional and we’ve repaired all the damages from the break-in,” said Kate Lasky, executive director for the library system. “The community has really come together to support the branch through donations, letters, even cookies. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has sent their support.”

Currently, the Illinois Valley branch is open and operating with full Internet access and a functioning alarm system thanks to the tireless efforts of several volunteers and staff. Donated funds will be used to update the security system. Any additional funds will be used towards the 21st-Century Children’s Library Project to update the children’s library at the Illinois Valley branch.

“The sympathy that poured in from all over the nation gave us the encouragement to bounce back,” said Illinois Valley Branch Manager Roberta Lee. “Thanks to our amazing volunteers and community we didn’t miss a beat. I’ve been so impressed by the response to this incident that I can’t help but feel the library is more loved and supported than ever.”

A reward of $500 for information leading to the arrest of the individuals who robbed and vandalized the Illinois Valley branch has been issued by Securing Our Safety, a nonprofit organization that uses awareness activities, research, and educational opportunities to create a citizen-voiced plan for a secure, stable, and sustainable Josephine County. Anyone with information about the incident should contact Deputy Sheriff Ken Lehman at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.

For more information, contact JCLI Executive Director Kate Lasky at 541-450-3498 or JCLI Illinois Valley Branch Manager Roberta Lee at 541-592-4778.