Readers write: Library is a resource that enriches lives

I believe that learning something new is one of the few enduring joys of life. That is a lot of the reason I like being a librarian. My work facilitates that joy. And I see it happen every day at our library. April 8–14 was National Library Week. I thought this month’s column might be a good time to share some stories about the positive influence our library has had for some of our citizens.

Recently, Laura, our Children’s Librarian, received this comment by email. For obvious reasons, the names have been changed in the following quote. “A few years ago, my son and his wife wanted to live in Cortez for a bit. My son’s wife never learned to read well. When she was in middle school her teacher called me and asked if I would speak to her mother about Betty getting some extra help with her reading. I spoke with Betty’s mother and her response was well ‘I don’t like to read so I don’t expect my daughter to.’ You can imagine the sadness we all felt about that. Anyway, years pass and I continue to send books to their children, we read together when they visit. Well, that time period they lived in Cortez I imagine was very lonely for Betty. I encouraged her to make use of the library and childrens’ program. Pretty soon, she was taking the girls by themselves not waiting for me to take them. Over the next year, not only did I see her read to her own children but she started checking out books for herself. Then she would get excited and want to tell me about them. It gave us something to share. She and Bill moved back to Denver but she still tells everyone about the library in Cortez. How nice everyone was, how they didn’t make her feel like a second class citizen. It gave her the courage to keep coming back, it gave her the courage to explore and look at new things. I hope that Betty will continue that wherever she goes. But, it was because of the library in Cortez that has helped her and my grandchildren’s world be a little bigger! As you can tell I have a love for what a library can do for people.”

Many people, including myself, have earned higher degrees using our Interlibrary Loan service while still living here in Cortez. As a public library we don’t carry academic journals, but most of the time we can get articles people need for their research. Here is how OD, Kim Parr, is finding success with it. “I am in the process of earning a fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry. Part of the process is writing three detailed case reports with referenced information. Each one requires 15-20 sources from medical and scientific journals. You can find sources online, but to my surprise and dismay, most publications charged a fee of around $30 each for full text articles. Then to my delight, I discovered that the Cortez Public Library has an interlibrary loan program, and can obtain almost any journal article, for free! I just have to email my requests from Pubmed to the library. Usually by the next day, they are in my inbox. This service has saved me hours of time and hundreds of dollars.”

People from Community Connections come in the library most mornings and afternoons. It gives them another place to go around town. Julie Ferguson, Day Habilitation Manager & Employment Consultant says, “The Cortez Library has a very friendly atmosphere. The individuals in services and the Direct Support Professionals appreciate the Cortez Library because of the people working there. Everyone is always treated with respect and dignity. When they visit the library they have good service, help looking up information, use of computers.”

Last fall, a lady came up to the desk and donated $50 to the library. She told me she had been coming in for weeks, going online with her own laptop and looking for a job. She had landed one in Washington D.C., and was heading there. She just wanted to thank us for the use of the wireless!

When a book “Stanton Englehart: A Life on Canvas” about one of our best local painters was published, it came with a DVD. In the DVD, Stanton related that when he was young and became interested in painting, he went to the Cortez Library and checked out a book by Leonardo da Vinci on how to paint. Libraries, the start of something great!

Justin Dodson is a regular user of our library. A few years ago he donated a beautiful painting that hangs in the library as a thank you gift. He has held two art shows at the library and sometimes plays our piano soothingly. This is what he wrote about our library. “The library and the staff at the Cortez Library are an asset to our community in many ways. There is so much for so many who would otherwise be without valuable resources needed in today’s society. The staff is always ready to lend a helping hand to help anyone in anyway necessary. I myself have always loved libraries and worked or spent countless hours lost in a wealth of knowledge to help me in almost every part of my life. If there were no libraries people would still be in almost the same state as the dark ages. I’m glad to have a place where culture is routine for any given day and would like to thank all who make it possible.”

Joanie Howland is director of the Cortez Public Library, 202 N. Park St. She can be reached at 565-8117.