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Hot Sulphur Springs: The county’s greatest little library

It may be the county’s smallest library.

It may have had humble beginnings.

It might even be outgrowing its current space.

But the Hot Sulphur Springs Library shines through as a cultural, technological and social center in the county seat of Grand County.

Lynn Shirley, the branch librarian for the Hot Sulphur Springs Library, is an enthusiastic booster of the library. She knows what makes the library great.

“I think the Hot Sulphur Springs Library is great for many reasons,” Shirley said. “I am told often the patrons enjoy visiting the library because it is friendly, caring, and always has a wide selection of new books.

“Shirley acknowledges that the Hot Sulphur Springs branch is the smallest of the five libraries in the Grand County Library District, “but we have come a long way.”

At one time, the library was a closet in the courthouse. The current facility was a bunkhouse for the U.S. Forest Service and was remodeled as the library.

“We are very grateful to have this facility, but we have once again outgrown it,” she said. “Our once little town is in a growth period.”

The library fills the needs of the growing community by purchasing and requesting media from other libraries. Also, the collection is constantly being revised to meet the needs of the community.

Shirley said her love of crafts dovetails well with the community’s love of crafts.

“We try to incorporate crafts in our story times,” she said.

But there’s more to explain what makes the Hot Sulphur Springs Library great.

“The library staff, volunteers and town people all work together and like each other,” she said, pointing to the very successful pie sale in November that raised $1,300. Also, she adds, “Last year, the town of Hot Sulphur Springs donated money so we could purchase a bike rack.”

Great Collections

The collections in place at the library contribute to its greatness.

“The Hot Sulphur Springs Library has a great craft, cookbook, young adult and picture books collections,” Shirley said. “I am currently working on medical books and updating the juvenile fiction and non-fiction. Our primer section has been updated and will always increase because it is so very important to have a wide selection for the beginner reader.”

She said she plans to use the fundraising money to update the juvenile section not only with books but with more audiobooks and books that come with a tape or CD that reads the story aloud to the child.

New books are ordered monthly, she said, and she asks several people to look over the book reviews to spur suggestions.

“I have a couple men who work here to assist me in building collections that men might prefer,” she adds. She also asks young adults, people with special interests and others to give her ideas for new acquisitions. “I am always open to purchasing a requested item.”

Great Programs

The programs offerings in Hot Sulphur Springs stand out even though the town is small.

Winter offerings include the adult book club, which meets the second Monday of each month, offering refreshments and interesting conversation.

“We have a story time each Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. We are the only library in the library district that has a man consistently reading for the children,” she said. “I feel it is very important that children see man reading. Alan Ward is the assistant librarian who reads twice a month.”

Carol Schroer also reads once a month and Shirley finishes it out with the last reading each month.

“I love reading to the children,” she said. “We plan musical chairs, do a craft and read a story. I also try to give the children time to talk as it is very important for them to socialize also. The story time moms also need this time to socialize. It is very important for both to have this time.”

She said she is already in the process of planning National Library Week activities as well as the Summer Reading Program and programs for adults during the summer.

She plans to have a retired chef present cooking workshops. And then there’s the popular Christmas in July program. Juvenile programs for summer include the Summer Reading Program where this year’s theme will be “Caught the reading bug.”

The Hot Sulphur Springs Library not only plans to have presenters but also a juvenile and adult origami.

Great Technology

The Hot Sulphur Springs Library is keeping up with the fast pace of technological change in Grand County’s libraries.

“Hot Sulphur Springs was the first to have computer training for patrons,” Shirley said. “We are updating our computer center for the third time. Our computer center offers easy ways to learn almost any program. The tutorials were purchased from Video Professor. It starts out with a tutorial presented on a CD. The patron watches the presentation and then uses the application on the computer.

“We have just ordered a new computer with Microsoft office applications for 2007, which should be available in February,” she said. “Need to learn an application for financial work? We have a QuickBooks tutorial. The Learning Center is a place where a patron has a computer and step-by-step CD tutorial. The CDs are very people friendly and they are free. The CDs are for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Staff is always available for assistance.

The library in Hot Sulphur Springs has also purchased play-a-ways. They are MP3 players with a book pre-recorded on them.

“They are very people-friendly,” Shirley said. “Hot Sulphur Springs also has the MP3 players on which books can be recorded from one of our two on-line downloadable sites for free.”

Shirley said the online resources continue to grow.

“I feel that technology is the future, but I also think that being able to go to the Hot Sulphur Springs Library for intimate surroundings is the better of two worlds,” Shirley said.

Shirley’s enthusiasm about the greatness of the Hot Sulphur Springs Library is contagious. Even if you don’t live in Hot Sulphur Springs, drop by that “little” library branch in the Grand County seat and see for yourself. It’s just a block south from highway 40 at 150 Moffat Avenue.


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