Recently, Ashland Children’s Librarian, Lyn shared the first post in a series we are doing on “Discovering the Treasures of JCLS.” The series is focusing on the different libraries and communities that make up Jackson County, with an emphasis on children and family activities. As Lyn said in her post, “Take a field trip to one of the many branches that comprise the Jackson County Library System,” and discover the treasures that they, and their towns, offer.

Today, I am sharing about Jacksonville. The Jacksonville library is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. When I went to visit, one of the first things that struck me was the many windows overlooking the area’s beautiful scenery. To the left you’ll find the children’s area complete with Dr. Seuss artwork on the walls and a train table for little ones to enjoy while you browse.

Branch Manager, Rina Pryor, welcomed me when I arrived and gave me a tour. The Jacksonville library includes many of the resources you expect to find in a library. There are books (of course), magazines, DVDs, computers, and free wifi. There is a meeting room, where the library hosts programs and community organizations use to hold meetings. There is a small study room, and a charming patio, perfect for relaxing in and taking in the surrounding beauty. They also have a local history collection and artwork on the walls, much of which is by local artists. 

I asked Pryor what her favorite thing about working there was. “I like the community feel of the branch. We get to see the same people visiting. They read the paper, come to storytimes, and just hang out,” she said. “It is a home away from home for the community,” which she described as welcoming and tight knit. Pryor said she really loves storytime and getting to know the local families. They recently held a very popular “Storytime with your Firefighters,” where firemen read, answered questions, and showed off their trucks. You can find other upcoming library events in Jacksonville on our website.   

Jacksonville is a popular tourist location and hosts many of their own events throughout the year. Britt Festival is probably the best known, but did you know that there is a “BrittKids Klub” and “BrittKids Koncerts?” Another exciting event for kids, that is coming up July 9-11, is the Storytelling Guild’s Children’s Festival. “X Marks the Spot!” is this year’s pirate-based theme. The festival features over 30 arts & crafts booths, face painting, gold panning, and more. There will be child-focused stage performances and Jackson County Library staff will be sharing books at the Storytelling Tree.

The Jacksonville branch is set in historic downtown Jacksonville, close to many of the town’s shops, restaurants, and other activities. Doc Griffin Park is just a few blocks away and includes a playground that was teeming with children on the day I visited. There are many hiking trails to choose from, with trailheads a short distance from the library. Kids (and adults) can learn about the area’s history by checking out the many informational signs throughout the area, including one about the “Jacksonville Rogue River Valley Railway” from 1891-1925. Kids may be interested to know that Jacksonville had the youngest train conductor in the nation, John Barnum, who was only 13.

I asked library staff member, Samantha, what she recommends for families to do in the area. Besides the things already mentioned, she suggests visiting the nearby ice cream shop. I took her recommendation and tried it out myself. Hey, I take my responsibilities seriously and thought I should try it first hand before writing about it! I fell in love with their Rogue Valley Pear flavor.

Overall, I highly recommend a trip to the town and the Jacksonville Library. At the end of the day, I felt like I had a mini-vacation without having to travel far. Something I like to do when I drive to Jacksonville, that would be fun to try with your kids, is to look for animals along the way and see how many different ones you can find. You could also look for how many different colors of flowers or types of trees there are, or come up with something of your own. Jacksonville is one of Jackson County’s treasures. As Lyn concluded in her last post, “All of our communities hold treasures to be discovered, so take a chance, go to someplace in Jackson County you’ve never been before, and if you’re lucky like me, you might just have a really good time!” Stay tuned for our next edition of “Discover the Treasures of JCLS.”