May 05, 2021


In 1953, the late Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series of science fiction books, as well as many other works of fiction and non-fiction, came to Florence, Oregon, to do research for a magazine article that he was going to write about a US Department of Agriculture project there.  The USDA was seeking to stabilize the dunes by planting beach grass, thus changing the ecology of the dunal areas, a very controversial project at the time.  In several interviews, Mr. Herbert credits the time spent in the Florence area out on the dunes as the inspiration for the setting for what he called his "messiah story".  By 1963, Mr. Herbert's agency began submitting Dune for publication.  Two years later, after 22 rejections, Dune was accepted for publication, and the rest, as they say, was history. 

Six Dune books, as well as over thirty other fiction and non-fiction books and innumerable magazine articles later, on February 12, 1986, Frank Herbert passed away, leaving, in addition to his legacy of writing, a large personal library that helped to illustrate the wide range of his interests and research.  In the late 1980's one of his daughters moved to Florence as a business owner and resident, and took an interest in the new library building under construction.  Shortly after the library building opened she presented the library with almost 400 books, pamphlets, recorded books on phonograph records, posters, photographs and other materials from the late Frank Herbert's personal library.  This represented about one fifth of his personal library, and is a very eclectic collection of non-fiction, fiction and author's copies of his various works in many languages. 

The books have been catalogued and are visible in the library's on-line catalog , but do not circulate.  Visitors to the main branch can view the collection in it's locked cases in the library conference room, where, in addition, storyboard art and posters from the original Dune movie which were presented to Mr. Herbert are on display.