It is certainly with mixed emotions that I write my last column for the Poudre River Public Library District monthly newsletter. I am retiring as Executive Director May 5th after nearly seven years with the Library District. The Board of Trustees is conducting a national search for my replacement and hope to have a new director in place this fall.
When I arrived in September 2009 I was new to Colorado having lived in Ohio all my life. Now, I call myself a Coloradoan and feel very fortunate indeed to have had the opportunity to work and live in such a vibrant and growing community and to lead such a dynamic public library.
Upon reflection our library family: staff, Board of Trustees, Poudre River Friends of the Library and Library Trust, have much of which to be proud. Together we modernized our three buildings, refreshed library park, introduced to the community a vast array of digital materials and new technologies, planned and presented programs for all ages and interests, and reached beyond library walls to deliver services to individuals and groups where and when needed. Together we developed strong partnerships with Colorado State University, Poudre School District, Front Range Community College, local government and businesses, and many community agencies.
It is difficult to say goodbye to my role as library director and to a career spanning over forty years but I know I am leaving a Library District that is well prepared for the future and open to new opportunities and challenges. I am grateful for many things--a talented staff, a wise governing board and dedicated affiliate groups (Friends of the Library and Library Trust) and most of all, an appreciative and receptive community. I once mentioned early on to a library trustee that I have died and landed in library heaven. I still believe it. Thank you for your on-going support and use of the library.
April is the granddaddy of months for celebrating and showcasing the important services and learning that happens in libraries every day.
Libraries across the nation will celebrate National Library Week, April 10-16, an opportunity to showcase all the many services libraries provide to our community. Be sure to pick up one of our Libraries Transform bookmarks that list some of our unique services. Library Workers' Day, April 12, is designated as part of this special week so please take time to thank a staff member who has provided excellent service to you this past year. This same week is also National Volunteer Week when our library salutes our 200 talented and devoted volunteers.
And wait, I'm just getting started...
April is National Poetry Month. Join us at Harmony Library for the Battle of the Bards poetry event on April 29. Winners of this annual competition will read their poetry to a very appreciative audience.
Join the Library District as we celebrate, Money Smart Week, April 23-30 at Harmony and Old Town Libraries with a series of financial literacy programs for all ages. , now in its sixth year, is a national initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and Federal Reserve Bank.
And last but certainly not least, April is the month of the Young Child. The Library District begins the month with El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros (Children's Day/Book Day), another national initiative supported by the American Library Association (ALA) that emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This year many of our literacy programs for youth and families will highlight the life, work and heritage of artist Frida Kahlo. Exploring Frida's life and legacy will allow the community to learn about this remarkable Mexican artist. A finale to our celebrations is the Frida Fashion Comes to Life event on April 30 where 25 children from the community will model Frida and Diego Rivera outfits.
As in past years, the Library District will also participate in the One Book 4 Colorado, a statewide program in which all Colorado 4-year olds receive a free book from their public library. Join us for the kick-off giveaway event, Dancing in the Streets, on Saturday April 16 at Old Town Library.
March will certainly "come in like a lion" with a special author appearance of Bill Bryson on Sunday, March 6, Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom at 2:00 p.m. This ticketed event is a fundraiser for future author presentations sponsored by the Friends of the CSU Morgan Library and the Friends of the Poudre River Public Library District. Mr. Bryson is the humorous New York Times best-selling author of such travel tales as A Walk in the Woods. He will discuss his recent books, The Road to Little Dribbling and Notes from a Small Island. Tickets must be purchased at CSUTix.com or call 970-491-4849.
The Library District continues to partner with Fort Collins independent book seller, Old Firehouse Books, to connect popular authors with readers at our libraries. Science fiction writer, Victoria Schwab, will visit Old Town Library on March 1 to promote her most recent novel, Gathering of Shadows. Joining her for a panel discussion are Colorado authors Brenna Yovanoff and Emily Hainesworth. On March 16, T. Jefferson Parker appears at Council Tree Library to discuss his latest crime thriller, Crazy Blood.
Unlike the familiar March proverb, the month will not "go out like a lamb." Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, authors of Rolling Stone magazine's best music book of 2015, We Gotta Get Out of this Place, will speak on Friday, March 25, 7:00 p.m. at the Hilton Fort Collins. The authors explore how and why U.S. troops during the Vietnam War turned to music as a way of connecting to each other, home and of coping with the complexities of the conflict. Rounding out the month on March 31, C.J. Box returns to the Council Tree Library to talk about his latest Joe Pickett novel, Off the Grid.
The Library District is partnering for a second year with local non-profits Growing Project and Home Grown Food Colorado to host the ninth annual Seed Swap and Give-Away at Old Town Library. Join other gardening enthusiasts to exchange seeds and starting soil, ask questions of master gardeners, attend a free gardening class and simply share knowledge. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. See www.HomeGrownFoodColorado.org for speaker schedule and detailed information.
I'm happy to announce that the New Year will bring more opportunities to use and visit our libraries! Beginning January 4th, the Library District will launch expanded operating hours. All three libraries will open at 9:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. In addition, Old Town and Harmony libraries will open at noon on Sundays instead of 1:00 p.m.
The new hours of service, starting January 4, are listed below:
Poudre River Public Library District strives to be a safe and welcoming space for providing services and access for all patrons. Old Town Library attracts a diverse group of patrons who use the library for many different reasons. Most of us have some sort of personal situation we deal with in our lives; some of those situations are more challenging than others. Our library has the opportunity to host a Master's of Social Work (MSW) Intern to refer patrons desiring assistance in connecting to community resources for mental health care, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and other life situations. We look forward to participating in this pilot project, as the Library District continues to partner, connect, and share information with other community organizations. Several public libraries across the nation (including Denver Public Library) have hired social workers as a part of their regular staff.
We are pleased to announce that Brendan Haggerty has accepted the position of Master's in Social Work Intern with the Library District. His internship begins in mid-January. Brendan is a student at Colorado State University. He has extensive paid and volunteer service with Catholic Charities shelter, the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, and student teaching at Boltz Middle School. He will be placed with us for the spring semester running from January through May 2016. Brendan's "home" library will be Old Town Library, although he is not limited to service there.
Library employees work with hundreds of patrons each day. While very skilled and knowledgeable, staff members are not trained in the specifics of how to work with individuals in need of social services. Brendan's work with patrons will help connect those in need to critical support services resources and information, thus freeing up staff to complete library and information work for which they are trained.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. The Old Town Library has provided space for VITA volunteers for many years. This year volunteers will be on hand on Mondays and Thursdays between noon and 5 p.m. VITA services are also available at the Council Tree Library on Thursdays, 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. The VITA program runs from February 1 through April 14 and assistance is provided on a first-come first served basis.