Library News: Library operations going well under COVID Level Red rules


By Carole Howard
PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

Meg Wempe, library director, and her staff report that library operations are going well under the current COVID Level Red: Severe Risk restrictions — albeit sometimes with service a little slower than usual. 

“Because libraries have been declared an essential service, we are very glad that we can continue serving our community’s needs while still keeping patrons and staff safe. With circumstances changing quickly, though, we encourage you to email or call with any questions that you may have about our operations — and to keep up to date with state and county COVID guidelines,” she said. 

Here is the current status at your library:

• We are limited to 15 patrons at a time plus staff in the building, since we must operate at only 25 percent capacity.

• We remain open on Thursdays from 1 to 7 p.m., with 1 to 2 p.m. reserved for seniors and higher-risk populations. 

• Other hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with 9 to 10 a.m. for seniors and higher-risk populations. Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays: closed.

• We are accepting meeting room reservations only for individuals or members of the same household, with library programs having first dibs on the rooms. You can schedule only so far out, usually two weeks to a month, depending on where we are in the month. 

• Hand sanitizers are available and there will be frequent cleanings inside the building throughout the day. Please practice social distancing and wear facial coverings while you are in the building. If you don’t have a mask, we are happy to give one to you. 

• Nine computers are available. In most cases, usage will be allowed for three hours per day. Staff will clean and disinfect the computers between uses.

• One early literacy computer is available for youngsters Monday through Saturday. 

• Curbside service continues Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. except for Thursdays, when it’s from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Phone 264-2209 when you are in the parking lot so staff can bring the items out for you. If you put a hold on something, please wait for your usual alert (email, phone call or text) before coming to pick it up. 

• You can drop your returns of books, CDs and DVDs in the drop box at City Market, as well as in the drop box at the library. No donations in the City Market box, please.

• Notary service is available on a very limited basis. Please call for an appointment. The cost is $5 per notary. 

• You can place holds on items from other libraries. They are in different stages of reopening, so items may take longer than usual. 

• We’re happy to provide tech help in person or over the phone for our online resources.

Special note

“We want people to always feel welcome in the library and to experience a very friendly vibe when they visit,” Wempe said. “But we need to remind everyone that, similar to other public indoor spaces in Colorado, we must follow the executive order that requires people ages 11 or older to wear a covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask, we have made reasonable accommodations and are pleased to assist you outside the building through our curbside service.”

Christmas closure

Your library will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 in celebration of Christmas, but curbside service will be available until noon Thursday, Christmas Eve.

Hot chocolate hullabaloo

Like so many other activities in our current COVID world, our annual holiday Hot Chocolate Hullabaloo has had to adapt — and move to your homes rather than take place at the library. We have free materials for crafts, activities and packets to make hot chocolate at the library for you to pick up until supplies run out. Have fun at home.

New knitting takeaways

We have added free knitting takeaways to our collection of crafts and activities you can pick up at the library entrance during open hours to take for your in-home enjoyment. We’ll have patterns craft ideas, instructions and some limited supplies available. 

New writing challenge

Twice this month, we are posting a new writing challenge on the library’s Facebook page. The current challenge was posted Dec. 7 and the next one will be Dec. 21. We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating. This is a free, all-ages activity.

Adult DIY: Holiday treats

You can access our food-themed DIY from Nov. 20 that will inspire you to create new appetizers and desserts for the holidays on the library’s website.

After-school program

In response to COVID, we have revamped our free after-school program into STEAM enrichment kits, STEAM standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, for ages 5 and up. Registration is required at 264-2209. Pick up your kit and then bring your completed projects back to the library to be displayed in the last week of the month.

DIY craft takeaway for kids

Drop by your library for free DIY crafts takeaways for youngsters age 10 and older. Just pick up a packet outside the library and follow the instructions.

In-person gaming

Free in-person gaming is suspended for the time being due to COVID safety concerns. 

Storywalk for kids

Every other Thursday, Josie posts signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up toward the elementary school detailing a new free Storywalk for kids. The Dec. 17-30 theme is writer friendships. After you finish the walk, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library. 

Tech Time

Make a 15- or 30-minute appointment for one of three free in-person slots available noon-1 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Brad will help one person (or one couple) at a time. If you have a Tech Time appointment on Thursday, phone from the parking lot or knock loudly on the front door to be let in. 


Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. by appointment. Please register so we can keep it to a small group in our limited open spaces. No walk-ins, please. 

Dungeons and Dragons 

Join us Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for Dungeons and Dragons free for teens and young adults on Google Meet. Contact to learn how to join. If you don’t have Internet access, contact us anyway — we may be able to accommodate you in the library. 

Children’s programs on Facebook 

Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., join us on the library’s Facebook page for free children’s programs. Wednesday storytimes are on Facebook Live, so you can interact with Josie. Saturday’s Discovery Times — with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more — are prerecorded. 

If you have a Facebook account, log in to Facebook and search for the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library. If you don’t have a Facebook account, access the page by visiting our website and clicking the Facebook icon (a lowercase f) in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Or, contact us and we can send you a direct link. 

Adult education 

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) accelerated GED course takes place in person Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. Come to your library to get help from Mark with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more. Appointments required; please contact us by phone or email. 

Activities calendars

To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your family at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month. There are two versions — youth and adults.


“The Last Days of John Lennon” by James Patterson is a biography of the Beatles star and the man who murdered him. “Bag Man” by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz explores the investigations that exposed Spiro Agnew’s crimes and drove him from the vice presidency. “The Meateater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival” by Steven Rinella provides tips, techniques and gear recommendations for the outdoor enthusiast. “Drawing Action Scenes and Characters by Shikata Shiyomi contains more than 600 illustrations to help beginning artists create manga. 

Western books on CD

“Tin Star” by Jackson Lowry is a Ralph Compton Sundown Riders western. “Massacre at Whip Station” by Dusty Richards is a Tim O’Malleys of Texas western. “Buzzard’s Bluff” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is a Ben Savage, Saloon Ranger western.

Large print

“Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” by Emmanuel Acho is a guide to truths we need to know to address the reality of racism today. “How To Raise an Elephant” by Alexander McCall Smith is book 21 in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. “Wyoming True” by Diana Palmer is a western romance. “Fool Me Twice” by Jeff Lindsay is a Riley Wolfe adventure. “Piece of my Heart” by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke is an Under Suspicion TV show story.

Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

We have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and downloadable audio books for patrons of all ages — children, tweens, teens and adults. Using cloudLibrary, you can download a book to read or an audio book to listen to. The items in cloudLibrary are purchased separately from physical items, so the books available are different – and it continues to use the consortium’s contributions, not just those that we bought. That is why you need to select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use. Please email or phone us at 264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


For their material donations, we thank Medora Bass and Karen LeCour. For their generous monetary donations, we thank Steve Merchant, Bank of the San Juans, Lawrence and Suzanne Shideler, and Terry and Susan Arrington.

Please put your material donations into the drop box at the library — not at City Market, which is reserved for returns. Donations undergo the same rigorous three-day quarantine process as returns. 

 Quotable quote

“To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” – Reba McEntire, country singer, songwriter and actress.


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at