Libraries were a special place for me growing up and into my college years.
I lived right next door to my small town library from middle through high school — quite convenient for that summer or holiday break read, or a little World Book research for a school paper in the pre-internet days.
My mom volunteered in the school library when I was in grade school, and I remember being excited whenever she was around to help point my classmates and I to that special book or magazine.
High school study halls were always in the library, which I found to be very distracting. I’d much rather be deep in the stacks looking for a good book, instead of doing my math homework.
My college library had a basement level with steel spiral stairs leading into the depths, kind of like a submarine. My favorite hideout to tuck myself away and cram for a test or write a term paper was down in that hole.
I have to admit I’ve fallen in and out of my library routine as an adult, especially as the internet has replaced reference books for most of my journalistic research.
Whenever I do re-enter those magical doors, though, I remember the special place that these community institutions are, and why they’re so needed — especially now.
September is National Library Sign-Up Month. In conjunction with the American Library Association, the Garfield County Libraries have been promoting “Lasso a Library Card — Libraries are Wonderful” in an effort to sign up more library users.
So, I decided to take part. And it couldn’t be easier, even if you’re an every-now-and-then card renewer.
Simply walk in to your local library branch (there’s one in every Garfield County municipality) and ask for a library card, or to renew your old one. They’ll still have you in the system. Or, just go online from the comfort of your own home at garfield.marmot.org/MyAccount/SelfReg and sign up for a card there.
Turns out I hadn’t renewed my library card since 2017 — perhaps the last time they had a fun promotion. This year’s campaign has a Wonder Woman theme. A display at the Carbondale Library also promotes banned books as part of the campaign, which I thought was pretty cool.
The libraries of today are a mix of old school and modern digital technology, with a world of information at your fingertips; however you choose to search for it.
It’s also still a great place to find that local or regional history book to learn about this place we call home, and to escape the real world with a good fiction book — two of my favorite rows of bookshelves.
A few years ago, I helped organize an effort to hand over all of the old bound volumes of newspapers to the local libraries, including copies of the Glenwood Post dating back to the late 1880s.
We used to keep those volumes on site until we downsized. So, they now live at the libraries, including the archives of the former Valley Journal and Roaring Fork Review newspapers at the Carbondale branch, and the former Rifle Telegram and more recent Citizen Telegram volumes at the Rifle library.
It’s comforting to know that little bit of history is in good hands, and available to anyone who wants to take a peek — by special request, though current pandemic restrictions may apply at this time.
While you’re there, get your limited edition Wonder Woman library card.
John Stroud is senior reporter and managing editor for the Glenwood Post Independent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org