Grand County libraries: Stephanie Ralph brings ideas to life at the Granby Library
Granby Branch Librarian Stephanie Ralph puts her beliefs into action.
“I believe the Granby Library is the heart of our community,” Ralph said.
That’s due in no small part to her effort to make it so. Anyone who visits the Granby Library knows that it’s the hub of cultural, intellectual and civic activity in the Granby basin.
“I believe the very concept of libraries is a huge idea. It is just a mind-boggling institution,” Ralph said. “We collect the best of human thought and creativity in the written word, film, music, and art and provide free access to these materials.” Not only that, she adds, it offers free Internet access, high-speed Wi-Fi for laptop users, the use of musical instrument and music players, and community space for meetings and gatherings.
Ralph, whose enthusiasm for her library work is inspirational in itself, likes to quote publishing magnate Michael Forbes, who said: “The richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.”
Ralph likes knowing that her appreciation can influence others to feel the same sort of appreciation expressed by Forbes.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be working for the community in the library district and to be part of this,” she said. She replaced former Granby Branch Librarian Cindy Eubank, who moved from the county in June. “I feel that the freedom of thought, possibilities for growth and respect for the individual that libraries grant is not found anywhere else in quite the same way.”
It’s worth knowing that Ralph’s employment at the Granby Library is based on a foundation of real-life use of the Grand County Libraries when she was raising her child.
From the United Kingdom originally, she ended up meeting her husband in the U.S. and moved with him to Grand County to own and operate Carvers Bakery in Winter Park. When she took the time to be a mother, she began greatly to appreciate the libraries. She became an active and confirmed member of the Hot Sulphur Springs preschool group and greatly appreciated the story telling skills of Carol Schroer and Lynn Shirley.
Then the library district employed her, starting a career in which she has truly worked herself up through the ranks. She started working at the Kremmling Library, first as a Library Clerk and later as the Youth Services Librarian. She moved to the Granby Library when it opened in 2006 and worked as the Adult Services Librarian.
Now, she’s the Granby Branch Librarian, doing her job in a way that reflects her appreciation of how the Granby Library and all the Grand County libraries are much more than rooms with shelves that hold books.
“Since I have worked in the library district, I have had the pleasure of watching our libraries grow with tremendous speed and into ever-increasing complexity,” she said. “We are setting new standards in our buildings. There are numerous people who visit the Granby Library from all over the world. They are completely bowled-over by our facilities.”
Ralph knows that knowledge and the information upon which it is based are acquired in many different ways that make Grand County a bigger place.
“By working together as a community, we are able to provide access to up-to-date, fast internet facilities that could only be dreamed of in our own homes,” she said. “I am particularly excited to see a growth in the number of people who are taking online courses and doing research in the valley. Trying to improve one’s educational standing has always been a real conundrum for those of us committed to this mountain community. We need to further our education, but we must endure long road trips, time away from our families or to leave the community altogether to take those courses.”
These days, as Ralph knows, knowledge goes hand-in-hand with entertainment.
“Granby has few possibilities for entertainment and for those of us who don’t have cable; the offerings on TV can be very narrow,” she said. “The Granby Library has a fabulous selection of movies on DVD and a whole library of music. This is a very popular collection and we are continually building to stay ahead of the demand.”
Ralph’s experience as a Youth Services Librarian is reflected in her understanding of how the Granby Library and all the Grand County Libraries are important for children.
“It is wonderful to see the importance of libraries for children and young adults,” she said. “Infants and preschool children first come in with their families. They stagger out with armfuls of colorful picture books and start the journey towards becoming lifelong readers.”
She said that for school age children, the library has many functions: a quiet place to retreat from the world where passions and individual interests are treated with respect in a safe environment, a place to meet with friends in groups and after school clubs, a place for homework and research. “It also offers the increasingly valuable Internet access; the very centerpiece of teen life,” she said.
On a grander scale, Ralph has a belief that inspires her work.
“The library district continues to grow and offer more and more to the communities we serve,” she said.
Granby Branch Librarian Stephanie Ralph is the very epitome of that belief reflected in her inspirational management of the Granby Library.
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