The completion of new libraries in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale during 2013 marked the culmination of more than $24.7 million worth of new library facilities from one end of the county to the other for the Garfield County Public Library District during the past four years.
In July, the library district officially opened the new 13,000-square-foot, $5.4 million Carbondale Branch Library at the corner of Sopris Avenue and Third Street. The brand new facility replaced the old Gordon Cooper Library on Fourth Street in Carbondale, which was less than a quarter the size of the new building.
Then, in September, the district celebrated completion of its sixth and final project when it opened the new 16,000-square-foot, $6 million Glenwood Springs Library. The facility, at the corner of Ninth and Cooper in downtown Glenwood, is part of the new Cooper Commons building, which the library shares with Colorado Mountain College.
The $11 million project involved a partnership between the library district, CMC, the city of Glenwood Springs and the Downtown Development Authority, and was part of a larger downtown redevelopment effort. Earlier in 2013, the city also opened its new two-level parking garage at Ninth and Cooper.
CMC will use most of the second-floor space in the new Cooper Commons building, which is attached to the college’s main Central Services building via an elevated walkway. The college also has a dedicated parking garage beneath the new building for its employees, which is made available to the general public during nonbusiness hours.
For the library district’s part, the effort was funded by a 20-year, 1 mill property levy approved by Garfield County voters in 2006. Altogether, the expansion included brand new libraries in Rifle, Silt, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, and an expansion of existing libraries in Parachute and New Castle.
Glenwood Springs, with more than 120,000 library visits per year, had one of the smallest libraries at just 4,500 square feet. The old library building at the corner of Ninth and Blake reverts to city ownership, and a future use for the facility is to be determined.
The new Glenwood library features 23,700 books, plus 4,750 other print and digital media items and 26 public computers.
Meanwhile, the old Carbondale library building is to become home to an art museum featuring the collections of renowned artist James Surls.