8/23/15

Mountains and Librarians by Jon Walker

I am a new member of the Board of Directors for the Mountain Park Environmental Center.   My professional background, of course, is as a librarian and administrator.  I have served as the Executive Director for the Pueblo City-County Library District for over eleven years now.

You may ask yourself why a librarian is interested in being involved in the governance of an institution dedicated to parks, mountains and wilderness, and the great outdoors.  The answer is easy for me.  I spend much of my time inside.  It is part of the job, really.  I work daily with books, computers, and other information resources and the people who use them, and, of course, all of these activities are essentially pursued indoors and away from nature.  So, this is a case of opposites attracting.  I love the out-of-doors, in some measure, because it is a rarer treat for me. 

I run, I hike, I snow ski.  These are my hobbies.  And, of course, a hobbyist can be passionate about an avocation.  I am.  One way for me to appreciate these pursuits is to serve and give back in my new capacity as a member of the MPEC Board of Directors.  Hopefully, some of my experiences and expertise will crossover to serve the interests of this vitally important institution.      

The role of MPEC is critical to our community and to our human-ness.  Our connection to nature can be easily lost or forgotten.  Among my all-time favorite reads is a short story by E.M. Forster entitled “The Machine Stops.”  Forster (1879-1970) is a British Nobel-nominated writer, long remembered for novels such as A Room with a View and A Passage to India.  He authored “The Machine Stops” in 1909.  It is wonderful little story that foretells humanity’s separation from nature by technologies of a variety of sorts and some of the dire consequences of this.  The tale is particularly noteworthy for predicting nearly a century ahead such current automation as the Internet, texting, and virtual communities like Facebook.  Forster's narrative warns us of the unreal, artificial environment created by our technologies and our need for the natural.  

Forster advocated that if men and women are to achieve a satisfactory life, they need to keep contact with the earth and cultivate their imaginations.  Just so, MPEC provides programs, camps, facilities, and education to help ensure individuals of all ages in our community have the ongoing opportunity to remain connected to the inspirational and creative gifts available to us via our natural world.  This is indispensable to each and every one of us.

I look forward to this opportunity to help serve the Mountain Park Environmental Center. 

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 ...