Twilight fans all over the U.S. are helping to raise money to renovate the Forks Branch Library, the public library in the real town where the books and movies were set, as Arwyn Rice reported in the Peninsula Daily News (“N.C. 'Twilight' fans donate to Forks library renovation”) and Twilight Examiner Amanda Bell reiterated (“Forks Library credits 'Twilight' fans with renovation fundraising success”). The Forks Branch Library, located at 71 South Forks Avenue in Forks, Washington 98331, is a branch of the North Olympic Library System (NOLS), which serves Clallum County.
The Alexander County Friends of the Library in Taylorsville, North Carolina mailed a check for $100 to the Forks Friends of the Library. They did this after the latter sent a mixture of real Forks materials (including bumper stickers that read VAMPIRES heart FORKS and WEREWOLVES heart LAPUSH) and Twilight memorabilia to the Taylorville library for a teen slumber party at the Taylorville library held to celebrate the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II (2012). During the slumber party, a small group of teens in Forks had a conversation via Skype with a larger number of teens at the Taylorville library.
The roof, furnace, lighting, plumbing, flooring, windows, and furniture all need to be upgraded or replaced. They want to install a new roof; upgrade plumbing and electrical systems and add new circuits; remove some interior walls to create more open, flexible spaces; replace furnace with new energy-efficient heat pump; paint; install new flooring; install new energy-efficient insulated windows; upgrade restrooms; construct door to fully separate meeting room from library so that meetings can be held after hours; install new kitchenette in meeting room; upgrade lighting; install a new fire alarm system; install computer and technology upgrades; install seismic bracing for shelving; and replace shabby, worn and damaged furniture and equipment.
The estimated total cost of renovations and upgrades is $774,500. The Forks Friends of the Library is hoping to raise $175,000. The remainder of the sum, $599,500, will be raised through tax revenue from the NOLS tax levy and the timber tax.
The Forks Branch Library, like a number of our local libraries, was founded as a private organization (academics call a social library). In 1941, Muriel Huggins moved to the Forks area, a small timber town (more of a hamlet, really) on the Olympic Peninsula with a population of 550 people, and it should surprise no one she found no library.
Instead of shrugging this off, she began to collect books and magazines to share and hand-delivered them. Her husband went on to build shelves in their enclosed porch. Community members were free to come and go to borrow the items on these shelves.
In 1944, three after Mrs. Huggins started her project, she helped plan for an official library, which opened on January 19, 1946 with a collection of 600 books as a branch of Clallum County’s rural library district. Lillian Dimmel was the first librarian.
Residents voted to incorporate the Town of Forks in August of 1945, which meant that the library could not remain part of the county’s rural library district. With the support of the PTA, a non-profit library association formed.
A year-and-a-half after it opened, the space occupied by the library in a grade school was needed to accommodate increasing enrollment, which forced the organization to move. In 1947, the library took up temporary residence in a rabbit hutch where resident Bert Fletcher had raised rabbits in the 1920s.
In those postwar years, residents decided that the library would make a fitting war memorial. The Forks Memorial Library Association began fundraising.
It would operate the library though 1973, though the county’s rural library district provided staff and materials. In 1951, a site on which to build a library was donated at the corner of B Street and the Olympic Loop Highway (U.S. 101). Volunteers constructed the building that year. The library's first permanent home was dedicated June 28, 1952.
Twenty years later, the library required a larger building. In 1973, the Forks Memorial Library merged with the newly-formed North Olympic Library System, and plans to resolve crowding at the Forks branch were developing by 1979.
The solution turned up just across B Street in the form of the old Sea-First Bank building, which was re-modeled and opened January 19, 1981, with 20,000 books. Volunteers moved the library's collection, including grade school students who formed a human "book brigade." They passed books hand-to-hand across the street and through a window of the new library.
In 2006, the Forks Memorial Library celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its foundation. It served the still-small town of 3,120 with a collection of 30,000 books. Annual circulation topped 65,000 items.
As of June, 2012, the sum of $47,000 had been raised. If you would like to make a donation, make a check out to the North Olympic Library System, and mail it to
North Olympic Library System, Forks Branch
Attention: Forks Renovation Fund
171 S. Forks Avenue, Forks WA 98331
One can also call the Forks Branch Library at (360) 374-6402 or e-mail Debbie McIntyre, the President of the Forks Friends of the Library, at mcintyre [at] olynet.com.