One of the best cards you can have in your wallet is a library card. Nowadays, libraries have gone far beyond just being a place to check out hard-copy books. They’re community centers that provide access to information in a wide-range of formats, enrichment programs for people of all ages, and are still a home for lifelong learners.
Considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the country, this two-story building, known as Old Rock, was originally built as a two-room schoolhouse in 1883. Made of sandstone quarried nearby, it is one of the oldest buildings in town. It has a storied history, but in 1993 this restored building was dedicated as the Old Rock Community Library. Resources at this free library include e-services, audio books, movies, music and, of course, a varied collection of books.
Straw bales create the internal structure for this 4,000-square foot award-winning community library. Selected Best Small Library in America shortly after its completion, this is an energy efficient building right down to its super-insulated walls filled with shredded, recycled blue jeans. More than 5,000 books, a half-dozen computers and a dozen laptops, all with internet access, keep community members coming through the doors.
This entire district is winner of the Leslie B. Knope Award, named for a character on the NBC show Parks and Recreation, which garners votes through a Twitter poll, online voting and some paper balloting. The award is well-deserved. With 11 branches throughout the community providing everything from computer classes to book clubs to a kid zone and vocational center, the district plays an invaluable role in the region, offering multiple options for learning.
Located in the city’s Golden Triangle, a neighborhood filled with civic and cultural institutions, the Fisher/Hoyt Central Library, opened in 1955, is on the National Register of Historic Places. With more than 500,000 square-feet of space, along with books, reference materials, movies, music and photographs, it’s known for its Western History and Genealogy section and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.
Just a short walk from the banks of the Animas River is the city’s main library, 42,000 square-feet of books, ebooks, and audio and video resources for people of all ages. Additionally, the grounds behind the library are two spectacular gardens developed by the Durango Botanical Society that showcase a variety of local and rare plants. A visit here is an outing, worth spending the day to enjoy.
How do libraries stay relevant in the 21st century? By blending technology, creativity, convenience and community interaction, an environment this library has created. The entire upper floor is non-traditional, housing the Business and Entrepreneur Center, hands-on creative spaces, meeting room and a venue for presentations and performing arts. The main floor is more traditional with books, a children’s area, teen center, reading spaces and a cafeteria. Much is automated from the self-checkout machines and e-help center to the automated materials handling system. But yes, there are still librarians to answer questions.
Built in 1906 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this branch of the Boulder Public Library system is the place to go for information on local history. It has books, diaries, thousands of photographs, oral history tapes and genealogical papers, all judiciously stored in 4,000 square-feet of space. Also available for review are the historic Boulder and Boulder County newspapers from 1869 to the present, on microfilm, and Boulder Daily Camera archives. Open limited hours throughout the week and by appointment.
College students need a quiet place to study? Number one spot—the library. This is an exceptional one complete with quiet study rooms, student work stations, collaborative study spaces and, importantly, a coffee shop. The library has more than 300,000 books in its collection, plus e-books, audio-visual materials, about 120 databases of academic journal literature, a large government documents collection and a world class geology library. Its state-of-the-art computer technology simplifies research and information collection.
A library should be quiet and peaceful. This one is a place to grab a book and sit awhile. The town opened its first library in 1925, sponsored and funded by the Aurora Women’s Club. Town leaders have supported the library system ever since. This branch has a genealogy collection, study rooms, access to computers with Wi-Fi and, of course, hard-copy books, periodicals, DVDs and CDs, job resources, homework assistance and e-books and multimedia. Open late for after-work needs.
Here’s a place that young people can call their own. The library only serves readers from birth to middle school who can bring along family members, child care providers teachers and scout leaders, if they need to. A variety of story times focus on specific ages. Afternoon reading fun, for kids K through fifth grade, is a unique program that builds confidence and fluency in reading by reading aloud to trained therapy dogs. There are music and movement programs that foster early literacy and social skills and a program just for babies, inspiring a lifelong love of books.