Library Corner: Reviewing the year at the Grand County Library District

Polly Gallagher
Grand County Library District executive director
GCLD Executive Director Polly Gallagher at the district office in Granby.
Sky-Hi News file photo

Grand County Library District is a community resource that supports the residents and visitors with opportunities to explore the world and delve into passions. We are here to assist you with boundless opportunities and the following is a review of this past year.

Public libraries have done a great deal to diversify their collections. For many years there were tag lines floating about stating, “Libraries, more than just books.”

But here’s the thing: The core of a library is books. The Grand County Library District is heavily a browsing library that people come in with an author in mind and to see what we have on our shelves with books labeled “new”. Because of this, it is important that we have a diverse collection of materials in order to have something for every user.

“(The district’s) collection is like a Jackson Pollack painting — material covering a wide area. The center point is the big hitters — the best sellers and known authors. It’s important to keep in mind the beautiful outer splatters and peripheral edges. The games, graphic novels, instruments — the things that some might not notice at first but are valid, important and add beauty to the collection,” said Tallie Gray, the director of library resources.

People discovered online resources over the course of the pandemic. Of the roughly 17,000 monthly checkouts, the library district is nearly at a 1:1 checkout ratio of online items to physical items. Our collection of eBooks, entertainment, news and research databases has greatly increased to meet this new demand.

You may have noticed librarians at more of the community events this summer. Grand County Library District’s staff has spent a bit of time out in the community, letting people know what resources and services are available to them. And it’s worked.

Of the nearly 1,600 new Grand County Library District library cardholders this year, some have signed up specifically to checkout a Winter Park ski pass, snowshoes, or pickleball paddle sets. The diversity in the collection can only be matched by the diversity in services.

If you visit the library in the coming weeks, you’ll notice some upgrades to technology, including hardware for easy connection to virtual platforms with improved sound and video quality at the Fraser Valley Library and Granby Library. The library is a place people come, not just for learning and entertainment, but to work. Hopefully, these improvements will make it easier for community groups utilizing the library meeting spaces to do hybrid or virtual meetings.

For some, services may mean wireless printing or use of a public computer. For others, it may mean exploring a new trail in the GCLD Hiking Club or being an armchair scuba diver. I’m looking forward to the Know Before You Go avalanche safety class on Dec. 9 as a refresher before I go too far afield this winter.

The libraries host programs for all ages. Teen Takeover, build your own microscope, and storytime are just some of the well-attended programs offered in 2022, not to mention all that happened during the Summer Reading Program.

Over the past two years, Grand County Library District has added additional hours to our Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs and Juniper libraries. Outdoor tables, story walks and sensory play spaces have also been incorporated to our libraries, providing expanded access to our services even when the doors are locked. It isn’t unusual to find someone in a virtual meeting out in the sun when I stop by one of the exterior book drop-offs on my way in to the office.

Our staff continue to develop their knowledge in a variety of areas including cybersecurity, engaging community and asking the right questions in order to assist patrons find just what it is they are seeking. Early literacy acquisition has been a focus piece for all library branch staff as we seek to support families and caregivers.

Staff have been invited to present at a variety of conferences on subjects including makerspace activities, incorporating science and math skills in early literacy instruction, and information literacy. Much has been happening at our local libraries in 2022. If you haven’t been in lately, stop by. We’re happy to show you around.

Grand County Library Foundation provides financial support for the operations of Grand County Library District. Ensure the sustainability of the district through a Colorado Gives donation.
Grand County Library Foundation
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