The Garfield County Libraries are preparing to open our fifth new library building in Carbondale. We are excited to share this new facility with the community and continue the long tradition of public libraries in Carbondale. As with our other new facilities, the funding for this library comes from the ballot in 2006 when voters gave the go-ahead for a mill of property tax to be collected for 20 years to fund library construction and operations in all six communities in Garfield County. The new Library District also retained a 1/4 cent sales tax as part of its operational budget that it had received when it was part of the county.
The original town library in Carbondale was located on Main Street and opened on Jan. 26, 1963. Prior to that there was a traveling wooden box that went from home to home with books. The idea for a library stemmed from a Great Books discussion group who felt the town needed a library. The group included Gordon Cooper’s mother, Hattie Cooper, who had retired to Carbondale and suggested that they name the new library after her son to honor his impending Mercury space flight. The group hosted a book drive that yielded 500 books, and a number of people donated furniture to the building as well as labor for building shelves. After one year of operation, the Garfield County commissioners voted to assume financial responsibility for the annual budget of $4,000, and it became the second branch of the Garfield County Library System after New Castle. A second facility was constructed in 1984 with oil shale funds from the state.
The new 13,000-square-foot library has a number of art elements integrated into the design including work from local artists Shannon Muse, John Hoffman, Mark Cezark and Travis Fulton. Sculptor James Surls is loaning the library a piece on a rotating basis that will hang over the adult non-fiction area. The new library is located at 320 Sopris Ave., and the architects are Willis Pember Architects of Aspen and Humphries Poli Architects of Denver. The contractor is R.A. Nelson of Carbondale and Eagle.
The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 20. There will be music from a variety of local and regional performers as well as refreshments. We hope to see you there.