By Carole Howard
PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff
“Wow! It definitely is summer at your library and the numbers show it!” That was the reaction of Meg Wempe, library director, as she reviewed the usage statistics for the last three months.
The door count, which was 3,944 in May, jumped to 5,407 in June and 5,443 in July. We issued 43 new cards in May, which then increased to 73 in June. Computer usage is up also — from 660 in May to 818 in June. It remained high in July, with 850 computer usages over the month.
“With a fair number of people vaccinated and traveling again, plus our local patrons returning to their usual schedules, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in people coming in to the library,” Wempe said. “Our summer months are our busiest months and this year is no exception.
“Our annual Summer Reading Program that includes increased programs and weekly challenges brings more local people in. We also see additional traffic from the greater number of visitors and tourists in town.”
Local author’s second novel set in Pagosa
Regular readers of this column may remember that local veterinarian and author Patty Latham wrote a book titled “Colorado Blood,” which she donated to your library in 2017. Now she has written a sequel called “Pagosa Tears.”
This book is a good read because Latham is an accomplished storyteller. And it’s especially fun for local readers to spot familiar geography like lakes, trails, restaurants, ranches and other favorite locations as the tale unfolds.
The story centers on the adventures of a Pagosa veterinarian named Dr. Josie Tate. While Tate is a fictional character, it is clear from the highly detailed and believable text that the author’s experience and expertise as a long-time vet have been passed on to her heroine.
This definitely is a book for animal lovers, as the heroine rushes to save abused animals and care for her creature clients whenever she is needed. The sanctity of animal life and the importance of conservation initiatives are vital themes that flow through the book.
There also is a romantic element to the story, as Tate meets and falls for a conservationist named Charlie, who is involved in the reintroduction of lynx to our local mountains. Charlie is vital to helping Tate find and rescue her horse, Woody, who goes missing under highly suspicious circumstances after a riding accident.
The author is generous with her praise for local officials and friends who were helpful to her with advice and support as she wrote. Among those mentioned in the acknowledgments are Wes Laverty, deputy of emergency operations for the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office; Nolen W. Berry, a legal expert and former associate judge; Tim Sullivan, well-known singer-songwriter and head of a popular country music band; Greg Wells, furrier and guide to the best high-country horse camps; and the staff at Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), especially Jacob Ivan, biologist in the CPW Nongame Mammal Conservation Section who is an expert on lynx.
Latham has donated a copy of “Pagosa Tears” and its prequel “Colorado Blood” to your library. Each stands alone as a good story — or you can read them together. Both will remind readers why we love living in the Pagosa mountains.
We are delighted that the robust local vaccination program for our community means that most of our programs now can happen in person. Also, our hours have returned to pre-COVID levels — and even more on weekdays:
• Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the library is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s one additional hour on Fridays.
• Tuesdays and Thursdays, the library is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. That’s one additional hour each day.
• Saturdays, the library is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That’s two hours fewer this day — but a total of 55 hours open each week, as compared to 54 in pre-COVID times.
For those uncomfortable coming into the building, curbside service continues. Phone (970) 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.
Legal clinic tomorrow
The free legal clinic each month is happening by appointment tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 13, from 2 to 3 p.m. The volunteer attorney can phone you at home or you can come into the library and meet privately via Zoom.
To schedule an appointment, send an email titled “Sign-up for Free Legal Clinic,” with your first name and phone number, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone or stop by the library. The volunteer attorney’s time is limited, so it’s first-come first-served. Visit http://checkerboard.co/ anytime to find many legal forms and other legal information.
Enjoy free all-ages video gaming on the Xbox 360 Kinect on Fridays from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. There will be a maximum of four participants in the gaming room at a time and social distancing must be maintained.
LEGO Club on Saturday
Kids ages 6 to 12 are invited to bring your imaginations — LEGOs are provided — on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 10 to 11 a.m. for the free LEGO Club. LEGO challenges also are posted on Facebook.
LENA start orientation
Learn how to use talk to build your child’s brain from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17. Sign up at your library by Aug. 16 to join a parent group centered on language and literacy for babies ages 0-3. This free program is available in English and Spanish.
We’ll have cardboard galore on Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ready to be transformed by kids, tweens and teens into anything they can think up.
Join us on Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 2 to 3 p.m. for this free in-person DIY event. Brad will go over the basics of creating paper chain wall hangings using coloring pages and a few other household supplies. Take-and-make kits will be available beginning Monday, Aug. 16, for those who cannot attend. Find more DIY videos on your library’s website at htps://pagosalibrary.org/adult-diy/.
Special family storytime
Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m., join us in the library garden for free in-person children’s stories, games and plenty of reasons to get up and move.
On Aug. 18, we will have a special storytime when Alan Powdermaker, local author and philanthropist, will talk about financial literacy for kids. Help your children begin thinking about money with this fun program.
Saturday’s Discovery Times continue on Facebook at 2:30 p.m. with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more.
Dungeons and Dragons
Join us Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for our ongoing Dungeons and Dragons game, free for teens and young adults on Google Meet. Contact email@example.com 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.
New storywalk for kids
Watch for signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up toward the elementary school detailing a new free storywalk for kids. The Aug. 16-30 theme is a silly stroll to get your body moving. After you finish the walk, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library.
Free in-person slots are available from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays. Brad will help you resolve issues with your computer, smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices.
Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. Beginning students are encouraged to attend from 4 to 6 p.m. and intermediate students from 6 to 8 p.m.
Las clases gratuitas se llevan a cabo en persona los martes y jueves de 4-8 p.m. Los estudiantes principiantes deben asistir de 4-6 p.m. y a los estudiantes intermedios de 6-8 p.m.
Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) session takes place in person Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. when Mark helps with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.
To be sure you don’t miss any of the free library activities available to you and your family, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month. There are three versions — children, teens and adults.
“New Women in the Old West” by Winifred Gallagher tells the story of the brave and persistent multiracial women who created homes and built communities between 1840 and 1910. “Spanish Grammar Handbook” is a Berlitz guide. “First Friends” by Gary Ginsberg explores the ties between U.S. presidents and their closest friends and confidants. “How I Saved the World” by Jesse Watters is a memoir of this TV host and champion of right-wing thinking. “Perversion of Justice” by Julie K. Brown documents the life of Jeffrey Epstein as he evaded prosecution for his crimes over the decades. “Every Tenant’s Legal Guide” is a Nolo guide written by lawyers to help renters.
“Just One Look” by Lindsay Cameron features a temp who becomes fixated on her boss’s private emails with his wife. “Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Treachery” by Brian Freeman is the latest in the Jason Bourne series. “Final Girl Support Group” by Grady Hendrix focuses on six women who survived massacres.
“Sex, Lies and Butterflies” is a Nature documentary about the lives and skills of butterflies. “Kipo” is an animated film about a young girl thrust into a fantastical postapocalyptic world. “Infinity Train: Book One” contains 10 episodes.
Downloadable e-books and audiobooks
We have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and audio books for all ages — children, tweens, teens and adults — in cloudLibrary. 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 as well as those that we bought. Select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use. Email or phone us at (970) 264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device.
Many thanks to our many anonymous donors for their books donations. Please put your materials donations into the drop box at the library — not at City Market, which is reserved for returns.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library Foundation to support and enhance your library by raising funds for information resources, programs, services and facilities. Mail checks to P.O. Box 2045, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or call Cindi Galabota at (970) 264-2209.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish painter and sculptor who led the early 20th century cubism art movement.
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 pagosalibrary.org.