House of Knowledge funding in the homestretch

LITTLE BOSTON —  Little Boston Librarian Sue Jones hopes this weekend’s fund-raiser goes well because she, the library staff and the community will benefit greatly from it in the long run.

Proceeds from Saturday’s “A Special Night of S’Klallam History and Culture” will bring in funding to help build a new library that will be more than twice the size of the current facility — allowing for more computers for patrons, a breakroom for the staff and, for the first time, an office for Jones.

“I’ve never had an office before,” she said with a laugh.

The evening filled with traditional Native American food and storytelling is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 and will include a clambake and salmon cooked over an alder fire. Storyteller Roger Fernandes will share tales about regional Salish tribes and the S’Klallam Youth Dancers and S’Klallam Singers will perform in the tribal longhouse. The tribe’s history book, “Nux Sklai Yem, The Strong People,” written 25 years ago, is being re-released and will be for sale at the event as well.

The library is part of phase two of the construction of the tribe’s educational complex, the House Of Knowledge. The longhouse and educational and career center were completed late last year as part of phase one. The Elder’s Center, part of phase two, is already funded and construction has begun.

Currently, Jones, her staff and patrons utilize the 1,500-square-foot modular unit located behind the tribe’s housing authority building, with limited amounts of space for books and meeting areas. The new library, of which the designs are nearly finalized, Jones said, will be 3,800-square-feet in size and located north of the longhouse. The evening will also include new event: Tribal Chairman Ron Charles will share the history of the tribe, which he has never done before in a public setting, said HOK project manager Laurie Mattson.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything in telling the tribe’s history and culture,” she said. “We’ve included the singing and dancing with the art auctions and salmon and clambakes, (but) Ron Charles will be doing an overview of tribal history so we’re pretty excited about that aspect.”

Gathering funds for the library is the final challenge in the nearly $5 million campaign for the four-building complex, Mattson said. While the tribe has had an steady income of donations from business and individuals, it still needs to raise $180,000 by the end of the year to receive the remaining $125,000 from one of its major sources, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant. The money raised during the weekend event will go toward completing that goal.

“We’ve had good support from the community so we’re hoping we’ll have people step forward that will be able to help,” Mattson said.

Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children younger than 18. For more information or to order tickets, call (360) 297-2646.

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