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National authors donating knowledge

LITTLE BOSTON — As the dedication for the new Little Boston Library approaches, the structure is drawing attention from state and national authors — all because a local writer feels words are important and should be available to everyone.

Wildlife author Ron Hirschi, who is also a member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation Board, said he was brainstorming ideas to raise money for the new library’s needs, and decided other writers might want to help in the endeavor. It soon turned into a raffle, giving residents the chance to win a signed volume and bringing in funding for the library, the final addition to the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s House of Knowledge campus.

“I’m a board member on the Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation, and one of our charges is to raise money for the new library,” he said. “Since I’m a writer, I thought, who better to raise money for a library than other authors and illustrators.”

As this idea stewed in the back of his mind, he started contacting friends to see if they would be interested in donating two copies of their books. The response was overwhelming, and Hirschi said he was encouraged to get in touch with other writers to see if they were also willing to give to the literacy cause. Author Alexander McCall Smith, the popular writer of the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series; Marc Brown, creator of the children’s “Arthur” books, Lynn Cherry, author of “The Armadillo from Amarillo”; and many other local and nationally acclaimed writers and illustrators were more than happy to send signed copies of their works.

“I sent an e-mail to Alexander McCall Smith, and right away, he e-mailed me back and said, ‘What a great idea,’” Hirschi said. “He sent a couple of autographed copies.”

As the effort continues, Little Boston Library Branch Manager Sue Jones, her employees and a host of volunteers started boxing and moving books Friday into the new structure. She said if all goes well, the new library will be open by Thursday at the latest.

“We’re starting to move a few things now,” she said Aug. 28. “We will close Friday at 2 p.m. like normal, and then we’ll have volunteers come to box up and start moving right away. We’ll start carting books to the building. We’re opening for sure Thursday, Sept. 6.”

Jones said the second set of donated books, which will be available at the Little Boston Library, will be welcome as the smaller branch doesn’t have a large selection. Hirschi said the donation efforts could draw more attention to the House of Knowledge complex and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

“I have been letting people know about the dedication,” he said, which will be held Oct. 5. “Since Little Boston is off the beaten path, it might encourage them to come out and see how beautiful it is here.”

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