Library Column: Welcome to your library — a celebration of our public libraries |

Library Column: Welcome to your library — a celebration of our public libraries

Polly Gallagher
Executive Director of GCLD
The Grand County Library District is reflecting on growth in readership and library offerings as the GCLD celebrates National Library Week.
Sky-Hi News file photo

Welcome to your library! As our community celebrates National Library Week April 4 – 11, we look forward to seeing you back in the library either in person or digitally.

Public libraries have a place in America’s heart by providing opportunities for lifelong learning, entertainment and recreation, and place to connect and socialize with others.

Looking back at 2020, our initial plans of creating greater access to our libraries through the removal of reservation fees for meeting rooms and eradicating late fines were well on their way to demonstrated success.

In just the 10 weeks we were fully open to the public, GCLD had more than 50% meeting room reservations in that short time compared to all of 2019. Library users helped restore our collection with items that had been forgotten, expressing relief at no late fee.

And then COVID hit and our doors were shut. But, only briefly.

Grand County Library District had been developing its digital collection and this was an opportunity to encourage those of us who love the tactile nature of reading a physical book to start reading books digitally.

To help patrons gain access to more books and materials, GCLD increased its budget for electronic materials and increased not just the number of books available electronically but also added the Denver Post and New York Times to the available electronic resources.

Rosetta Stone was a favorite as well as AtoZ Database, a new 2020 addition, as people prepped for future travel. Overall, we saw 98,000 checkouts of electronic media compared to 2019’s 43,000.

Thanks to some great forethought, Granby Library’s drive thru became an easy way for patrons to pick up reserved materials. Not long after, more of our patrons became familiar with reserving materials or calling up our concierge librarians for curbside pickup. Top books checked out in 2020 — “The English Patient” and “The Deserter.” Our most popular DVDs were ”The Joker,“ closely followed by ”Gemini Man“ and ”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.“

But with the lockdown, GCLD saw potential for diversifying the collection to support children’s tactile learning and encourage people to delve into hobbies or enjoy the outdoors. Robotics, automatons, and electronic kits were some items added to the collection for people to explore at home as well as knitting needles, pickleball paddles, and memory kits.

The overall favorite item checked out in 2020 was the Check Out the State Parks kit. Every week a GCLD family enjoyed a State Park Pass as well as binoculars, bird guides, and other exploration tools included in the backpack kit.

Over 12,000 Grand County residents now hold GCLD Library Cards (beautiful designed by several of our patrons) of our total 14,000-plus card holders. And, we continue to look for ways to keep our residents connected through Take and Make kits, programming, and community partnerships.

As GCLD moves forward into the coming years, it is our pleasure to serve our Grand County community. Welcome (back) to your library!

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