Marcus Larson/News-Register##Rich Moore with Blue Spruce Builders unpacks another palette of specially made bricks for the McMinnville Library.  The bricks will be featured as part of the new library courtyard.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Rich Moore with Blue Spruce Builders unpacks another palette of specially made bricks for the McMinnville Library. The bricks will be featured as part of the new library courtyard.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Many people sponsored paving stones for the plaza project, with each picking their favorite book.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Many people sponsored paving stones for the plaza project, with each picking their favorite book.
By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Library bricks reflect love affair with books

All of the new bricks at the McMinnville Public Library look like book covers.

The roster includes “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry, which head librarian Jenny Berg had inscribed in honor of her father. “It was a book we read and enjoyed together,” she said.

Many local residents will find the rebuilt plaza a sentimental journey.

People who donated to the McMinnville Public Library Plaza Enhancement Project could have bricks inscribed with their names as well as the titles and authors of their favorite books. A smaller brick cost $250, a larger one $500.

Berg said she was amazed by the response from the community. It resulted in delivery of some 180 bricks at the library on Jan. 7.

Among them was one honoring another book Berg cherishes — “The Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.

Another brick cited “The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses” by Paul Goble. That was the selection of Andrea La Rue, Gwen Dimmitt and Brittney Ranche, the three-person team from Nectar Graphics in McMinnville, which handled the design work.

Berg found the team’s work stunning. Many building projects offer inscribed bricks in exchange for donations, she said, but few can boast that each brick features an individualized design.

It was quite a project, Dimmitt admitted. “There was a lot of research involved, getting acquainted with each individual title, but then that’s par for the course in any design project.”

La Rue, owner of Nectar Graphics, donated more than 60 hours to the library project as a personal contribution.

Working with bricks posed some particular challenges, Dimmitt said.

“We worked closely with the guys who produced the bricks,” she said. “When you work with concrete, you have to design for the etching. You have to keep in mind that you can’t get too intricate because there are unavoidable limitations.”

In addition to the team selection of “The Girl Who Loved Horses,” La Rue also made a personal selection — “We Delivered: The U.S. Navy Armed Guard in World War II” by Lyle E. Dupra.

“Andrea chose that book for her grandfather, a World War II veteran,” Dimmitt said. “It was very personal for her.”

She said the project was a special one for the whole team.

“We’re all book lovers,” she said. “We would get a batch of bricks and titles and work on them as they came in. It was all one big collaboration.”

Berg said she is still gushing over the results.

“They did such an amazing job,” she said. “I’m so excited by how this entire project turned out.”

Aside from helping pay for the new plaza, Berg said she hopes the bricks will continue to inspire McMinnville’s love of books. “My hope is that this will create a conversation in the community,” she said.

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