8/16/13

EXTENDING THE LIBRARY IN THE COMMUNITY

The library district is extending itself more in the community. Early this year, we unveiled designs for three new libraries. Groundbreaking on construction for each of the three is scheduled to take place before the end of this summer. The new East Side Library will be a source of information and a meeting place for the approximately 15,000 nearby residents. The Greenhorn Valley Library will serve those living in the southern-most area of the county. The St. Charles Mesa Library will provide for the nearly 10,000 people who live in this area.

This commitment on the part of the Pueblo City-County Library District to expand to these underserved areas is acting on our belief that these libraries will become one of the most important, if not the most important, public outposts in their respective parts of the county. The design of the new libraries will incorporate many ideas suggested by residents, such as more natural light, large community meeting rooms, areas for young visitors, public computer resources, and plenty of books and other library materials. Other features will include comfortable spaces of study and contemplation, a café area for light refreshments, and, of course, well-trained staff to assist customers.

We know people still crave good reading. Our new libraries will have great collections of books to check out. Large numbers of people continue to visit our current libraries to check out library materials. Over one million people visited our libraries and nearly two million items were checked out last year from the present public libraries, including Barkman, Lamb, the Library @ the Y, Pueblo West, and Rawlings. The demand for free access to information, both digital and paper, remains strong. Not surprisingly, once people get access to that information, they tend to want more.

Books and reading are a big part of the library’s future, but not the only part. The new libraries also will provide spaces conducive for study, group meetings, and simply places for people to gather to freely access information and exchange ideas. While “more books” is a common request from customers, the libraries both now and in the future will provide more than books, including everything from help with resumes and job searching to health information for lay people to helping kids find a comfortable place after school to study and learn.

Our libraries have continuously innovated in order to remain relevant and important. The Internet has made traditional encyclopedias, maps, and any number of once-essential paper documents less relevant by providing this content online. Importantly, public libraries have become central places for convenient and free Internet access. Our new libraries will provide WiFi access and plenty of public computers, including the latest in wireless digital devices. Part of our mission is to insure that free access to information is available for all members of our community, and in today’s world this clearly extends to the Internet and newer wireless devices. So, the new libraries will have digital tablets and wireless computers for check out plus study rooms equipped with the latest in collaboration technologies.

This is an important time for libraries. This expansion of library services represents a significant step in ensuring access to a better quality of life for everyone. Construction of the new libraries is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2014, about one year from now. For more information, see www.pueblolibrary.org/newlibraries.

LOCAL HISTORY AT THE LIBRARY by Jon Walker

Our community enjoys a rich and diverse history.  This is the story of the people and events helping to shape the saga of this region over ...