Ideal back-to-school gift for your youngsters


By Carole Howard  | PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

Do you know the value of a home library for your youngsters? Research shows that kids who have books in their home have improved vocabulary and overall reading performance; do better in math, science and social studies; perform better on standardized tests; and are more likely to go to college.

Those are impressive skills for your child to cultivate — and they are especially relevant now that Archuleta County kids are back in school. 

Another valuable tip to help your youngster be successful in school and in life is reading aloud. You are stimulating language and literacy skills, as well as building motivation, curiosity and memory. 

The free storytimes at your library can help build a love of reading in your children. Storytimes are a great way for kids to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers. 

As school starts, this may be a good time for parents, grandparents and other caregivers to make a personal resolution to help build home libraries for your loved ones.

Early library closure

Your library will close early on Monday, Sept. 11, for a staff meeting at 5 p.m. This is our regular new staff meeting schedule — on the second Monday of the month.

Activities calendars

Pick up monthly events calendars at the library so you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your family.

Virtual author talk today

Our highly popular virtual author talks continue this month with three more opportunities for you to interact with New York Times bestselling authors with an opportunity to ask questions. 

Today, Thursday, Sept. 7, at 5 p.m., we’ll meet with Lidia Bastianich, Emmy award-winning TV host and author of the memoir “Life, Love, Family and Food.” She is an Italian-American celebrity chef, cookbook author and restaurant owner.

Wednesday, Sept. 20, at noon will feature New York University psychologist Adam Alter, author of “Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How To Get Unstuck When It Matters Most,” a guide to freeing you from habits and relationships that prevent you from achieving your full potential. 

Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. will showcase Amor Towles, author of three novels — “The Rules of Civility,” “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “The Lincoln Highway.” His first novel was so successful that he was able to retire from investment banking and write full-time.

For details and to register, go to

Read Baby Read 

The next free interactive storytime for babies up to 18 months takes place tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 8, from 10 to 11 a.m. We will sing, bounce and laugh as we enjoy age-appropriate books and songs. 

Video gaming

Play free age-appropriate video games on an Xbox, Wii and other game systems tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Beginning chess

Learn how to play chess with quick lessons and game time to practice your skills on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. All ages and abilities are welcome.

LEGO Club Saturday

Kids aged 6-11 are invited to bring your imaginations on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the free LEGO Club. Note the extended time of two hours rather than one. Bring your own LEGOs or use ours.

Adult knitting Saturday

Join new and experienced knitters this Saturday, Sept. 9, for our free Knitters Circle from 1 to 3 p.m. It is aimed at anyone over the age of 18 who would like to knit together or get some help if you are stuck on your project. 

Medicare intro Monday

Learn about Medicare coverage and how to sign up on Monday, Sept. 11, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in a presentation by the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging.

Ruby’s Book Club Tuesday

Ruby’s Book Club meets from 2 to 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 12, to discuss “Pure Land” by Annette McGivney. Copies are available at your library. 

This free book club is held the second Tuesday of each month, alternating between fiction and nonfiction titles, with snacks provided. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Dungeons and Dragons

Next Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., join our Dungeons and Dragons game free for teens and young adults. Preregistration is required because space is limited. Contact to join.

Therapy dog visit 

Next Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 11 to 11:45 a.m., you are invited to come to the library for a free visit with a certified therapy dog. Visits are limited to 10-15 minutes — just the right amount of time to pet the dog, read to the dog or just say “Hi.” This is an all-ages activity.

Family storytimes

Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m., join us for a free educational hour of reading, singing and free play to build early literacy skills. 

Writers support group

Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m., Ruby’s Writers Guild welcomes writers looking for opportunities, support, resources and camaraderie with other writers at this free gathering. 

ESL class times

Free in-person evening classes take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and there is a change in the way the time is divided: 4 to 5 p.m. is reserved for beginners, 5 to 6 p.m. for intermediate and 6 to 7 p.m. for advanced students. Please help us spread the word about these classes to others in our community who would be interested, and contact us by phone or email if you have any questions. 

Tech Time 

Free in-person slots are available from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays. Judy helps you with basic questions relating to computers, smartphones and tablets and also provides assistance in accessing any of the library’s online resources. 

No appointment is needed for these drop-in sessions, but it is important that you bring your device’s charger with you. 

PALS/GED adult

Join Mark or Sally for free PALS sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. to help with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more. 

Downloadable books 

CloudLibrary has a wide variety of downloadable e-books and audiobooks for all ages. To access this free digital collection, download the cloudLibrary app, answer a few simple questions, select AspenCat Union Catalog for the name of your library, then enter your library card number and four-digit PIN. Library staff are happy to help you set up your device if you need assistance.


“The Underworld” by Susan Casey describes the latest technology to journey to the depths of the ocean. “Strip Tees” by Kate Flannery is a memoir by a recent college graduate who experienced life in the racy Los Angeles corporate fashion world. “Diversity For Sale” by Jay Jeezy Jenkins is a memoir about the author’s triumph over small-town poverty to become a successful artist, father, husband, entrepreneur and philanthropist. 

Large print

“Gone Tonight” by Sarah Pekkanen follows a mother with a secret she’s held all her life. “Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Defiance” by Brian Freeman is a Jason Bourne adventure. “Family Lore” by Elizabeth Acevedo features a woman who can predict when somebody will die. “Cutting Teeth” by Chandler Baker tells of a teacher’s murder where 10 four-year-olds are suspects. “The Bone Hacker” by Kathy Reichs is thriller featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. “The Carnivale of Curiosities” by Aimee Gibbs is set in Victorian England. “After Death” by Dean Koontz begins when the head of security wakes up alone after a massive disaster. 

Mysteries and thrillers

“Clive Cussler Fire Strike” by Mike Maden is an Oregon Files adventure. “The Last Sinner” by Lisa Jackson is a Detectives Benz and Montoya murder mystery. “The Secret Book” by Flora Lea begins when a book arrives with a story only two children knew, one missing. “The Wolf Hunt” by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen deals with the aftermath of religious and racial incidents. “North of Nowhere” by Allison Brennan features hidden children found by their crime family father. 

Other novels

“The Art of Scandal” by Regina Black focuses on a political couple who make a deal to stay married to avoid scandal. “Heart Bones” by Colleen Hoover features a young homeless woman trying to stay safe until her full-ride college experience. “Maame” by Jessica George follows a young woman trying to escape the confines of too many family responsibilities. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card is a sci-fi story about a military genius Earth desperately needs. “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarrows is the first book in a new fantasy series about war college students becoming dragon riders with magical powers. 

Thanks to our donors

We are grateful to Barbara Wolf for her generous monetary donation, and to Daniel McCluskey for his materials donation.

When we are open, material donations are accepted for the Friends of the Library at the front desk — not down the outside returns slot at the library or the drop box at City Market, please. 

The Friends take fiction published in 2013 or newer and nonfiction from 2018 or newer. Limited workroom space means we can only accept one or two small boxes at a time. 

Quotable quote 

“Launching new projects is very stressful. But it’s also extremely fun. Betting on yourself is a good thing. If you fail, you learn — and then you apply that knowledge to the next endeavor.” — Drew Barrymore, actress, talk show host, author and creator of specialty designed products for the home.


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