Grand County Libraries help you be all that you can become
March 28, 2008
The Grand County Library District strives to help its patrons find their individual paths to self-fulfillment.
For Bill Tetlow, president of the board of directors for the Grand County Library District, helping people find fulfillment guides his vision for how he influences policy on the volunteer library board.
For the library district, this means the county’s five libraries are more than places to borrow books. They are information centers. As their slogan said, Mountain Libraries Elevate Minds.
As Tetlow said, the libraries in Grand County today are many things for may people.
– Information resources for the entire community
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– Virtual doors to the world at large with expert guides
– Part of a town’s hub and fabric as community gathering places for social networking
– Sources of inspiration through media resources and artist or artisan exhibits
– Places open to all who pass through the library doors
– Places to learn at your own pace
– Places to experience new technological advances
– Places to help you “Be all that you can become.”
“The library functions at the heart of a community and our motto is to make it “The i (information) Place for residents and visitors,” Tetlow said of the direction the libraries are taking.
The mission statement of the library district reflects this goal: “To create exceptional libraries which provide convenient and universal access to quality information resources while committed to the highest ideals of library service for personal lifelong enrichment and inclusive community involvement.”
It’s no accident that “personal lifelong enrichment” is a tenet of the library district’s mission statement.
“Many years ago a psychologist named Maslow identified five basic human needs,” Tetlow said.
Maslow said mankind’s most basic needs are for food, drink, clothing and shelter.
Next come physical and psychological safety needs, followed by social needs by contact and interaction with others in the community and workplace. Under Maslow’s system, only when these needs are satisfied can a person feel a sense of value and self worth.
The top level is described as self-fulfillment. This is the place where people realize their dreams and use their gifts, talents and potential.
The Grand County Library District does an excellent job of helping people reach this level.
“The library as a public institution speaks to all of these needs,” Tetlow said. “It provides an environment where one can expand one’s personal universe. For some it provides social enrichment through book clubs and special programming events.
Artists, artisans and authors have their talents displayed for all to see through special art and craft exhibits, lectures and travelogues, so everyone benefits.”
Tetlow lives near Granby and he works at the Winter Park Resort. He has served as library board treasurer and now as president, a county commissioner appointed position, for six years.
“Although I have had over 20 years of volunteer efforts in service clubs like Kiwanis and Lions, church councils, and other charitable groups, I find my years with the Grand County Library District to be the most personally satisfying,” Tetlow said.
He has had several career pursuits over nearly 50 years as a military training officer, strategic planner, and professor for three major research universities in the United States and Canada. Currently, he supervises 160 volunteer hosts at Winter Park Resort.
An old friend of the Tetlow family has helped to inspire the vision he sees embodied in the Grand County Libraries.
“I remember Erwin who escaped from a German POW camp at age 12,” Tetlow said.
“He emigrated to the U.S. and educated himself to the Ph.D. level in mathematics and then worked as a mathematician in the U.S. space program as a GS 15 level scientist during the 1940s and ’50s.
“We learned many pearls of wisdom from him but I recall him asserting strongly that ‘you can get a first class education anywhere you have a good library.'”
With that in mind, Tetlow thinks of how the public library has an informal but complementary relationship with the school systems in Grand County and how the East Grand school board came to the library district’s aid when it had instant urban renewal thrust upon it.
“They recognized the value of the public library to their students and to the community,” Tetlow said.
Tetlow said that serving as library board president with six other talented trustees and a very professional staff has offered a chance to expand his horizons.
“It has been rewarding to watch the growth of the Grand County Library District as it has gained state and national recognition,” he said. “This is due to the collective efforts of a magnificent staff and a group of trustees with diverse talents providing policy governance. The District was named Colorado Library of the year in 2005 and has built three magnificent buildings in the past ten years. At the same time it has added staff, expanded hours of operation, and diversified programs.”
Tetlow likes to point out that at the Colorado Association of Libraries annual meetings both board and staff members learn annually, through attendance at lectures and workshops, that Grand County has a rural mountain library system second to none in the state.
“Visitors and residents are constantly amazed at the resource available to them through the good graces of our taxpayers and donors,” Tetlow said.
“I feel blessed to be a part of this enterprise,” Tetlow said.