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Mancos library sheds light on community with video series

Midge Kirk interviews business owners, artists, authors and locals embarking on adventures.

Midge Kirk remembers how the Mancos Public Library was when she first started: stacks of books everywhere, and a closet that four people called an office.

One day, a child about 5-years-old climbed over the counter.

“This is the heart,” he said.

It’s been striving to stay that way – the center of the community, ever since — she said.

The latest in the library’s community endeavors is a YouTube series featuring interviews with locals, which Kirk hosts.

“We have a lot of really interesting people here,” Kirk said.

The interviews are split into four categories: Business in the Backyard, Life is an Adventure, authors and artists.

The latest in the series featured Brent McWhirter, co-owner of the Columbine Bar and Grill.

The library has always hosted adult programs, but it had to find a way to adapt at the onset of the pandemic, Kirk said.

As it has been for many others, Zoom was the solution.

“I think one of our goals during this whole insane COVID time has been to keep community connected,” she said. “It’s been stressful for everybody.”

Coming up is an interview with an expert in neuromuscular reprogramming.

“If you want to know what that is, you'll have to tune in because it's powerful,” she said.

The library will also be pursuing an oral storytelling series, a dream since 1999, Kirk said.

A resident for 22 years now, she wants people to feel as moved by the stories that come out of Mancos Valley as she is.

“I always wanted to come out West,” she said. “I wanted to do it on a Harley. But I didn't have a Harley — I had a Toyota and two dogs. We just took our time, came across the country, and I drove down River Canyon and tears came down my face. It's like I could feel the ancestors. It was just something so powerful about it. And I've never left.”

An East Coast author almost took on the project of capturing the area’s stories, but it wasn’t meant to be — for her.

Kirk and the library team didn’t want to give up on the idea, though, and library director Lee Hallberg gave them the green light.

“Many of us here at the library have said, ‘Wow, that person is such a source of information for this area, let's get that story’ and then we don't, and they pass,” she said. “I can think of four or five that we said that about, and rest their souls, they're gone.”

The library is hoping to begin with stories of Mancos women who fashioned a quilt hanging in the library, each square representing an aspect of the town.

A quilt depicting different aspects of Mancos hangs in the Dolores Public Library.

She hopes that one day the stories could even develop into a take-home composition in the form of a book or DVD.

“We're going to begin it and exactly how it will unfold — it will take on a life of its own,” she said.