Jefferson County Library gets large bequest

Board welcomes ‘amazing, unexpected’ gift

PORT HADLOCK — The estate of Paul C. Anderson, a political science professor who retired to Port Townsend, has bequeathed $235,000 to the Jefferson County Library District — one of the largest gifts in recent history.

The donation amounts to nearly 10 percent of the county library’s budget, Library Director Tamara Meredith said Wednesday.

Anderson, who died in 2018 at age 87, was passionate about history, politics, golf and rhododendrons.

He taught in the public schools in Cashmere, Yelm and Tacoma until 1961, when he moved to Yakima and taught political science for more than three decades at Yakima Valley College.

When Anderson retired in 1994, he and his wife, Joyce, moved to the Kala Point neighborhood.

He then served as president of the Olympic Peninsula chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and, starting in 2001, volunteered in the Centennial Rhododendron Garden at Fort Worden State Park.

Joyce also was an avid gardener and volunteer at the Jefferson County Library, Meredith noted.

“This is an amazing and unexpected gift,” she said, adding the library board of trustees is just starting to consider how to use it.

There are several possibilities, Meredith said. One is investment in a solar retrofit of the library at 620 Cedar Ave.

The library district could accelerate its time line for applying for a Department of Commerce grant for this project, she said.

The state may require a 50 percent local match, and the bequest could help.

“A year or so ago, we looked at options” for installing solar panels, she said, “and evidently have a perfectly faced roof,” with lots of southern exposure.

The library director added she hopes to honor Anderson’s love for gardening with a dedicated garden space near the Hagen Building, the library’s garage.

That building, named after the late trustee Tom Hagen, is being constructed to house the library’s courier van and bookmobile — as well as a to-be-purchased electric vehicle.

That vehicle will enable the library to conduct pop-up events around the county, Meredith said.

To find out more about the Jefferson County Library’s offerings and avenues of support, visit www.jclibrary.info or phone 360-385-6544.

Director of Development Mark Paxton can be reached at [email protected] while Meredith can be contacted via [email protected].

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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