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All Ideas Can Rest on the Same Shelf

By Claudine Perrault, Estes Valley Library Director & Village Librarian

As a young child, I was given a World Book encyclopedia set. Pre-Internet, those gold-printed volumes were a true gift for the bookish, and one which I explored often. Curious about Valentine’s Day, one afternoon I pulled the slender “V” volume off the bookshelf. Below the holiday article, I noticed the next heading, “Valentine’s Day Massacre.” Massacre? Below it the words, “See: Chicago.” What did this have to do with love? Confused, I resolved to learn more.

On our next family trip to the local library, I, accompanied by my father, approached the reference desk. “What can you tell me about Valentine’s Day Massacre?” I inquired. Pop’s jaw dropped, his face communicating astonishment and perhaps a little embarrassment by his 9-year old’s grim question. 

The librarian patiently observed as my from-the-old-country father leaned over. How had I learned about this, and why (on God’s green earth) did I want to know more? 

“In the World Book, Pop, right after Valentine’s Day,” I replied, with the airs of a sincere, if pretentious, child researcher. He paused, still uncertain. The librarian smiled. Then with a deep breath, he took my hand and said, “Yes, tell us more about the, uh…er… the Valentine’s Day Massacre, please.”

Following the reference librarian, we entered the adult stacks. Finally, the amorous mystery would be revealed! She pulled several ordinary-looking books off the shelf and handed them to me. Alas, no brokenhearted romance here. The Valentine’s Day Massacre was a mob hit in the 1920s.

Bored, I flipped through a few pages, then handed them back with thanks. Pop visibly sighed with relief. Curiosity satisfied, off I went to make book selections more aligned with my interests. 

Important things happened in this moment: 

I learned that libraries are the place where no matter how peculiar the question (or young the patron), I would be factually answered. 

My father learned that my inquisitiveness could be met in the safety of the public library by dispassionate librarians. He soon dropped me off to go in on my own.

The glue of our father-daughter relationship became books and the conversations around them. He began recommending titles. Interested in overwrought romance? Try Bulfinch’s Mythology. Mysteries capturing my attention? Let’s give Agatha Christie a go. 

Here’s what did NOT happen: I didn’t grow up to become a mobster, or for that matter, a dizzy romantic. I am, however, still very curious.  

Public libraries provide this curiosity-satisfying service for all ages and interests. As a government service, it is not the library’s job to tell anyone what they can and cannot read. Here your questions are answered using multiple sources, and you decide what is right for you and your family.

Occasionally what is supportive for you may be contrary to your neighbor’s values. Please know that we are listening to you, as well as to your neighbor. You do not always want the same thing. So if your perspective is not reflected in the collection, we add material with that view, while retaining the others to which you may not agree. Libraries have something to support everyone.

The forgotten role of public libraries is similar to the World Book encyclopedia: each holds space for all ideas to rest on the shelf at the same time. 

We invite you to come in, poke around, and choose your favorites to share and discuss with those around you. Just like Pop and me.

Summer is sweet, and summer reading sweetens the deal

by Katherine Weadley, Programs and Outreach Supervisor

Summertime. It’s picnics, wildflowers, stargazing, road trips, hiking, camping, barbecues, farmer’s markets and garden harvests. Add to that list: the satisfaction of reading for personal joy and taking part in Library programs.

The Library’s Summer Reading Program is here, with rewards for all ages: adults, teens, kids, toddlers and babies. For students, summer reading is essential to avoid the “summer slide”. Studies show that kids who read for summer enjoyment return to school in the fall primed and ready to learn (for others, it can take weeks to catch up).

For adults, summer reading stimulates lifelong learning and connects us with a community of fellow readers. Multiple studies show the benefits of reading: it’s relaxing, reduces stress, promotes good health, and keeps our creativity and memory skills sharp. 

If that weren’t enough, we’re here to sweeten the deal — with prizes! We call them reading rewards. Log your time online, anywhere, 24/7. You’ll soon find yourself eagerly anticipating your next reward. Before long, you’re finding time for reading you didn’t know you had (another great benefit of participating).

“Oceans of Possibilities” is this year’s Summer Reading Program theme, reflected in our prizes and programs. Kids: earn wooden sailboat kits, shark gliders, plus free books. For teens: how about a jellyfish lamp, a shark hoodie, or a 4-pack of Denver Aquarium tickets? Adults: gift certificates to your favorite local businesses, and a chance to win a Kindle Fire tablet.

Then there are the activities! For adults—journaling and ocean poetry in the great local outdoors. Teens: glow-in-the-dark ocean painting, ocean games, and squid dissection. Kids: take-home science projects and the “Little Dolphin Rescue” Book Club. Something’s happening nearly every day this summer!

  • Read in your favorite outdoor spaces. Listen to books while on your favorite walking trail, or while cleaning house or washing the car.
  • Use FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom to read aloud with grandkids across the miles. Or read aloud or discuss books with adult friends who are close or far away.
  • Create a Book Club of Two: challenge a friend, near or far, to read a shared book. Set a weekly page goal, then discuss together. 
  • Have kids and grandkids read recipes while you’re in the kitchen making meals.

New this year: we know summer is a busy season for many adults. Besides reading, you can earn points by attending summer reading events at the Library. Log your attendance just like you would your reading time.

Once you start, you’ll find it’s easy to weave reading into your daily routines:

Browse the Library shelves and you’ll find plenty to keep you reading all summer long. Plus, our extensive Digital Collections offer the convenience of downloading books, audiobooks, graphic novels and comic books 24/7 from anywhere. New to digital? Just ask and we’ll get you started.

Look for full details about the 2022 Summer Reading Program at Sign up, read, and relax all summer long. Thank you to the Library Friends & Foundation and donors for making the Summer Reading Program possible.

It was a “Dolly” good time

Thanks to everyone who joined the festivities on May 20 as we celebrated the launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in the Estes Valley, set to deliver FREE monthly books to local kids under 5. Find out more about this program, made possible by Imagination Library Colorado, the State of Colorado, and a generous local donor to the Library Friends & Foundation.

Families signing up for the program, and kids enjoying face painting and balloon twisting.
Local band Lost Penny celebrated with live music, including their original song “Dolly Do”.
Kids painted oceans in the Makerspace for this year’s Summer Reading Program theme.
Every child signed up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library receives The Little Engine that Could as their very first book.
Nadine Sekerez from the band Lost Penny poses with Dolly.
Summer Reading:
Oceans of Possibilities

Relax, de-stress, and read for pleasure, while earning great prizes. For all ages!

Keepsake copies of “The Mountains Sing”

Now available: a limited number of this year’s One Book One Valley, with a bookplate autographed by the author.

[ Reserve your copy ]

Special hours:

The Library will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Children’s book illustrator Rafael López visits Elementary School

On Monday, May 9, students at the Estes Park Elementary School were treated to a visit by award-winning children’s book illustrator and artist Rafael López. López is the recipient of the 2019 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. His award-winning illustrations bring diverse characters to children’s books, and he is driven to produce and promote books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people.

The visit was made possible through collaboration among the Estes Valley Library and the Estes Park School District, with sponsorship by the Estes Park Woman’s Club.

“We’re grateful to the Woman’s Club for their sponsorship of this event,” said Melanie Kozlowski, the Library’s Early Literacy Librarian. “Author visits are exciting and meaningful for the Library and Estes Park Schools. Students gain a personal experience alongside a working artist. And they see firsthand that the books they love are made by regular people who use their creative gifts to help make the world a better and more colorful place.”

Let’s Celebrate Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library on Friday, May 20

by Melanie Kozlowski, Early Literacy Librarian, and Kelly Pemrick, Imagination Library Coordinator for Estes Valley Library

One great idea. 27 years in the making. Its arrival deserves a party. And you’re invited!

Last week, we shared the exciting news that our Estes Valley Library has achieved affiliate status with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. With this milestone—we’re ready to sign up all local kids to receive free books mailed monthly to their homes. These books are age appropriate and chosen by childhood experts, all ready to delight kids and boost childhood literacy and learning development.

Since starting in 1995, the Imagination Library has been expanding nationally. Its Estes Valley arrival is an occasion to celebrate. Join us next Friday afternoon, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Library. It’s a party for everyone—all ages—and even if you don’t have kids at home.

Drop by and check out the fun! Here’s an overview of what you can look forward to:

Live Music. Our special guests are Lost Penny, an acoustic Americana duo based right here in Estes Park. They’ll be performing a variety of songs, including their newest single, “Dolly Do” written by Nadine Sekerez and inspired by the philanthropy and resolve of Dolly Parton. Have a seat and enjoy the music!

Signing Up Kids. Got kids under 5 living here in the greater Estes Valley? Visit our imagination Library table and we’ll get them signed up to start receiving books. The process is easy. And if your kids are 5 or older, we’ll share information about other library resources to keep them reading, learning and thriving.

Family Fun Activities. An Imagination Library party deserves some sparkle and creativity! Kids can take part in face painting or take home a balloon-twisted design, courtesy of Bridget’s Balloons. And from 11 to noon, visit the Makerspace upstairs for “Make an Ocean!”—we’ll have all the supplies for kids’ make-and-take art, perfect for ages 2 to 5. 

Get your Photo with Dolly. With her very busy schedule, Dolly won’t be attending in person, but you can take your picture next to her life-size photo likeness. Your friends on social media will be very impressed!

Become part of the Summer Reading Community (all ages). May 20 is also the kickoff for the Summer Reading Program (with the 2022 theme, Oceans of Possibilities). It’s important for kids—studies confirm that summer reading keeps kids school-ready when they return in the fall. AND it’s for us grown-ups too, with programs and prizes, and the opportunity to be part of a community of like-minded readers and lifelong learners. Join us and we’ll tell you all about it!

No sign-up is necessary to attend the Imagination Library Launch Celebration on Friday, May 20. Drop in anytime from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Let’s celebrate together! And thank you to Imagination Library Colorado, the State of Colorado, and a generous donor to our local Library Friends & Foundation.

May is Mental Health Month

Sign up here for any of these Health Happens at the Library programs