Fraser: Enthusiasm inspires support of public library
February 8, 2008
Ask patrons of the Fraser Valley Library how they feel about their library and you’ll get a consistent impression.
As the library prepares to celebrate an important anniversary, this enthusiasm seems more than appropriate.
It just seems right.
“The Fraser Valley library will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the new building in March of this year,” said Kathy Mikol, Branch Librarian for the Fraser Valley Library. “There have been many changes and additional services added in that time. We currently provide both a full-time Youth Services and Adult Services librarian on staff, as well as four other employees. The library collection has grown to over 25,000 volumes during that time.”
Jon de Vos, a Fraser resident who has used the Fraser Valley Library since the ’70s, has high praise for the library.
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“I think all the people who work over there are just as absolutely helpful and friendly as anyone could ask for,” he said. “They’ve helped me locate books I’ve been after. They’ve always been able to provide them for me.”
Jon de Vos said he also takes advantage of the DVDs and films that can be checked out at the library. “They’ve developed a great stable of movies.”
He takes pride in the Fraser Valley Library because he remembers the extensive and enthusiastic fundraising campaign that took place when the current building was being planned and built.
As a nexus for social events, de Vos said the library helps bring Fraser and Winter Park together.
“They’ve got great meeting rooms that facilitate community functions,” he said.
Barbara Belknap, 80, of Fraser, is an enthusiastic Fraser Valley Library patron.
“I’m in there every two or three days,” she said. She gets books, opera CDs and more. “They can get books from anywhere.”
She also goes there for general knowledge. She’s a writer and frequently has many questions about a wide range of topics.
“I go in there and ask them questions and they look it up on the internet, or they get other information from other places. I just can’t tell you how encouraging they are,” she said.
Belknap has lived in Grand County for 35 years and the 10th anniversary of the new building is especially meaningful for her.
She remembers when the library for the Fraser area was nothing more than one room in a teacher’s house near the railroad tracks in Fraser. Then it grew a little and filled a bigger room in another house. “There were so many books you just could barely get around in there.” That’s when she pitched in with other community members and started raising money for the new library.
Programs for all ages are an important element of the library’s popularity.
“We provide a variety of adult and children’s programming at the Fraser Valley Library,” Mikol said. “We have two morning story hours for toddlers and preschoolers, and three after school programs for elementary aged children. The after school programs all currently have a waiting list due to their popularity. The proximity of the library to Fraser Valley Elementary School provides students with easy access to all that the library has to offer, including study rooms for after school use. The Fraser Valley branch also has the highest circulation of juvenile materials in the county.”
Fraser parent Laura Cleveland has many good things to say about the children’s programs at the Fraser Valley Library. Her son, Wil, has been participating in the programs for several years.
“I am enthusiastic about it and Wil is enthusiastic about it,” Cleveland said.
“The programs offer an opportunity for him to expand his horizons,” she said. “We love it. He brings home many books every week. The kids’ programs offer a chance for children to check out books and get used to the library system.”
Mikol said regular monthly adult programs include the Fraser Film Series and Socrates Cafe. The film series offers screenings of a wide range of feature films with a discussion period at the end. Socrates Cafe engages participants in conversations employing the Socratic method of philosophical inquiry; this method is concerned with the formulation of reflective questions rather than absolute answers.
“Our adult collection includes historical information on the Fraser Valley, DVDs, music, foreign language materials and the best in new books,” Mikol said.
Jon de Vos also had good things to say about all the programs, movies and art shows put on at the library.
“One of the most interesting programs they put on there was when they had a bunch of old timers talk about the prisoners of war who were here in Fraser during the World War. It was just priceless,” he said. “Those kinds of programs are just invaluable.”
“I do enjoy the programs,” Belknap said. “The Thursday night movies. They get old movies. Contemporary movies. It’s just handled well. They get people in there who know what they’re talking about and we have lively interesting discussions after the movies.”
“There is a writers’ group there. There are 15 members who meet every Monday morning at the library,” Belknap said. “We just have a wonderful time. And so many of our members are getting published now.”
“We have a dedicated and regular group of volunteers who help with everything from shelving library materials to assisting with children’s programs,” Branch Librarian Mikol said. “The Friends of Grand County Library have recently instituted an ongoing book sale in the library lobby and have spent countless hours over the years organizing the library’s largest annual fundraiser, the Progressive Dinner.”
The library provides free Internet access via its 13 public computers, as well as wireless access for those who have their own laptops. It also helps many part-time residents, seasonal workers and visitors with their information needs. The library is especially busy during the winter ski season. The Fraser Valley Library has something to offer anyone who might visit or live in the Valley.
“The libraries are our community. I just don’t know what we’d do without them,” Belknap said. “It’s our life. It’s amazing.”
Like we said, the Fraser Valley Library and enthusiasm just seem to go together.
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