A Holiday Greeting from the Library

by Kurtis Kelly, Communications Specialist

Tonight marks that special calendar moment when we nestle in for the longest night of the year. Winter evenings hold their special charm, whether we’re inside the cozy comfort of home or out walking amid the 29,000 feet of multi-colored lights that adorn our town’s center, casting a beautiful and captivating glow that shines bright.

We at the Library express our warmest wishes to you. May this season inspire you, in whatever tradition you honor: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Yuletide, or simply, the Winter Season.

We are grateful for all the opportunities we’ve had to interact with you over the year past. You are our friends and our neighbors, and the joy and satisfaction of doing our job derives from the people we serve.

There are many seasonal traditions at the Library. My personal favorite is something that has just experienced its third popular year.

On two evenings every December, the Library becomes a magical destination as families gather for The Polar Express Trolley Ride.

I have the honor of reading aloud this 1985 classic (the book predates the movie) in our Fireplace Corner, as library elves hold up a big-sized storybook for kids to see author Chris Van Allsburg’s beautiful illustrations. For many parents, “The Polar Express” was a childhood favorite they can now share with their kids who are hearing it for the first time.

When Santa in the story asks, “Who will receive the first gift of Christmas?”, there are always eager young faces who can’t resist answering aloud, “Me!”

After the story, everyone gets their ticket to ride the Polar Express around town, in the form of an Estes Park trolley. The conductor (played perfectly by our friend Kent Smith) checks his pocket watch and calls out, “All aboard!”

After a ride through the lights of Estes Park singing Christmas carols, the families return to the Library to warm up with hot chocolate and an activity—and a visit to Santa’s workshop just outside the Library, led by costumed elves from the Estes Park Newcomers Club.

The Polar Express is just one example of the magic that happens at the Library all year. We are happy to be here for you, for our local families, and we look forward to seeing you as you stock up on books and other materials to surround you and your family throughout the holidays.

As Children’s Librarian Melanie Kozlowski reminds us: “Reading together as a family is the ideal antidote to the frenzy and stress that all too often accompany the holidays. Reading is calming, soothing, and leaves no mess to clean up. At the same time, it exercises the brain, stimulates imagination, and builds vocabulary and background knowledge.”

We thank this great community we call home. And we wish you and yours the best and brightest of this season.

Like that conductor calling out before his return ride to the North Pole, I echo a heartfelt “Merry Christmas” to you.