Meet Sherry, your new early literacy librarian


This week we are welcoming Sherry Vanatta, who joined our staff on Tuesday in charge of our early literacy programs. She comes to us with a wealth of experience working with children — and knows your library well because she has been one of our enthusiastic volunteers for the last couple of years.

Vanatta has a BS in dietetics and institutional administration from Texas Woman’s University and a masters of education from East Texas State. 

Her previous work history includes being an adjunct professor of nutrition and academic advisor at Texas Woman’s University, a public health nutritionist at Wewoka Indian Health Clinic in Oklahoma, and community dietitian to Indian tribes in Arizona. She also has been a first-grade teacher in Garland and a special commissioner for a probate judge in Denton County, both in Texas.

Vanatta is a longtime Stephen lay congregation minister and leader and also is junior warden at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

“Sherry’s previous experience and passion for working with children will make her a fantastic addition to our staff,” said Meg Wempe, library director. “We have come to admire her skills during her time as a once-a-week library volunteer and now are delighted to welcome her in her new full-time role.”

Save the date for
library fundraiser

We hope you will mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. for Late Night at the Library, a fundraiser for our Mountains of Opportunity campaign to expand and renovate your library. 

The event will offer hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a fun time turning old books into repurposed treasures. 

Tickets are $50 per person in advance and $60 at the door. They can be purchased online at or in person with cash or check at the library.

Virtual author talks 

Our highly popular free virtual author talks continue with two more opportunities for you to interact with New York Times bestselling authors and ask questions in December. For details and to register go to 

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. we will gather with Victoria Aveyard, author of young adult and fantasy fiction as well as screenplays. 

Thursday, Dec. 12, at noon will feature a conversation with Stephanie Land, author of “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” which became a Netflix miniseries.

Friday Flix tomorrow

Enjoy a PG movie and free popcorn Friday, Dec. 1, from 2 to 4 p.m.

LEGO Club Saturday

Kids aged 6-11 are invited to the free LEGO Club on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to noon. Bring your own LEGOs or use ours. 

Knitting and crochet lessons

Learn to knit or crochet on Monday, Dec. 4, at our free gathering from 2 to 3:15 p.m. for ages 8 and up. Supplies will be provided. Note that we have added an additional session and this group will now meet the first three Mondays of the month. 

Tween/teen art
camp Monday

Monday free art classes from 4 to 5 p.m. for teens and tweens will explore a different style or medium. On Dec. 4 and 11 it is floral art with guest artist Kirstin Bennett. Participants will create floral mug arrangements and art from pressed and dried flowers. Registration is required. This art camp will happen only the first two weeks of December because the rest of the month the schools are on winter break. 

Music fun Monday

Pagosa Unplugged is free from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, for amateur musicians who would like a safe, supportive, non-bar setting to play, sing or both with other people. Anyone under age 18 is welcome with a signed parental permission, available at your library. For program information, contact Susan at (970) 946-3396.

Spanish conversation

Practice your Spanish in a free group setting on Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. No minimum skill level is needed. Note this group now meets twice a month, on the first and third Tuesdays.

Dungeons and Dragons

Next Thursday, Dec. 7, 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.

Elementary tutoring

Children ages 6-11 are welcome at these free sessions on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. where they will build essential skills in core subjects. Preregistration is required. This tutoring will happen only the first two weeks of December because the rest of the month the schools are on winter break. 

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. 

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.

Large print

“Judgment Prey” by John Sandford is a Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers murder mystery. “The Mustangers” by Preston Lewis is set in 1804 Spanish Texas. “Lone Star Legacy” by William W. and J.A. Johnston is a Forever Texas western. “Traitors Gate” by Jeffrey Archer is the latest in the William Warwick series set in London. “Killing the Witches” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard focuses on the events of 1692 and 1693 in Salem Village, Mass.

Books on CD

“From a Far and Lovely Country” by Alexander McCall Smith is a No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency mystery. “The Burnout” by Sophie Kinsella features two burnout victims dealing with their malaise at a rundown seaside resort. “The Secret” by Lee and Andrew Child is a Jack Reacher adventure. 


“The Duke” is based on the true story of a man who stole an invaluable Goya portrait from the National Gallery of London. “The Bletchley Circle” is a thriller featuring four women with extraordinary code-breaking skills. “The Fox and the Child” is the story of a remarkable friendship narrated by Kate Winslet. “Gran Turismo” is based on the true story of unlikely underdogs. 

Thrillers, mysteries
and suspense

“Happiness Falls” by Angie Kim begins when a Korean American family’s beloved father and husband goes missing. “Blood Sisters” by Vanessa Lillie features a Cherokee archaeologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs investigating the disappearance of two women. “Mother-Daughter Murder Night” by Nina Simon focuses on a high-powered businesswoman investigating a murder. “What We Kept to Ourselves” by Nancy Jooyoun Kim tells of a family’s search for answers after their mother disappears. 

Other novels

“The Madstone” by Elizabeth Crook is a saga that begins when a stagecoach strands a passenger in Texas Hill Country in 1868. “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt explores a widow’s connection with a giant Pacific octopus. “Sisters Under the Rising Sun” by Heather Morris features two women surviving and helping others in a Japanese POW camp in World War II. “Testament” by Wilbur Smith and Mark Chadbourn is a historical novel set in ancient Egypt. “Beyond That, the Sea” by Laura Spence-Ash tells of the life of a young woman sent from London to live in America during World War II. 


“I Am Asking in the Name of God” by Pope Francis contains 10 prayers on vital issues facing the world today. “Imagine the God of Heaven” by John Burke reveals stories of people who have experienced more than a thousand near-death experiences. “Sonic Life” by Thurston Moore explores life in New York’s post-punk, no wave scene by this talented musician. “How to Forage for Wild Foods Without Dying” by Ellen Zachos is a beginner’s guide to identifying 40 edible wild plants. We also have three more new travel guides — “Colorado” and “California” by Lonely Planet and Fodor’s “Essential Ireland.”

Thanks to our donors

We are grateful to Henry Cesary for his materials donation. 

When we are open, materials 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 recently announced new guidelines for what they will accept as donations: Yes to popular fiction books published in 2013 or later, nonfiction books published 2018 or later, and children’s and young adult books — all in excellent condition, please. No to CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, VHS or cassette tapes; textbooks, outdated travel books or reference books because they do not sell. No more than two boxes at a time because of space constraints.

Quotable quote 

“Whatever you do in life ... remember ... think higher and feel deeper. Life is an open hand waiting for some other hand to enter it in friendship. Ultimately the answers are so simple. Not simplistic, but so simple.” — Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), Romanian-born American author, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor. He authored 57 books, written mostly in French and English.


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