Programming continues at GarCo Libraries |

Programming continues at GarCo Libraries

Will Grandbois

Most programming at local libraries will continue despite recent budget and staff cuts, though some events may have to be rescheduled or altered.

“We want to do it all, we just need to make sure that we can,” said Brand Manager Emily Hisel.

“We’re going to have to evaluate and see how much we can sustain.”

Garfield County Library District is anticipating a $1.2 million decrease in operating revenues for next year, due largely to declining revenues from oil and gas activity. Last week, the district cut eight positions and canceled several ongoing programs due to altered hours, including “Senior Time” and “Coffee with the Community” in Glenwood, “Wig Out Wednesdays” in New Castle and “TableTop Game Nights” in Rifle. According to Hisel, some or all of those events may return if the branches can find the right timeslots and staff to manage them.

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“We really want to focus our efforts and make sure the events we were putting together were high quality and matched our mission,” she observed. “We’re trying to reach as many people as we can and have events that connect with different parts of our community.”

The most recent cancellation, a pair of Carbondale concerts by acclaimed pianist Amanda Gessler in honor of Beethoven’s birthday, were due to an injury rather than the spending cuts, and will likely be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, other events are going ahead as planned.

The Parachute Branch Library will host its second Harry Potter Yule Ball at 6 p.m. on Saturday, a week after a similar event in New Castle attracted over 100 fans.

“It seems to appeal to all generations. We’re getting parents with little kids, teens, tweens, young adults and people in their 50s and 60s,” said Di Herald, branch manager in Parachute and New Castle and one of two employees to voluntarily resign amid the cuts.

Herald also helped arrange a midnight release party for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” over the summer and has encountered Yule Ball events at conventions. Inspired by an event from the fourth book in the series, the library’s low key event includes tabletop Quidditch, wand making, house sorting, a scavenger hunt, trivia and themed beverages. It’s also an opportunity for folks to dress up as a generic wizard, favorite character or just don their formal wear.

“It’s nice to have people who all understand the fandom kind of come together around it,” Herald said. “It’s a whole relationship as humans we have with story, and this is a way to share a common cultural touchstone.”

It’s also a big weekend at the Silt Branch, with holiday merrymaking in conjunction with the town event Friday and a gift wrapping party beginning at 10 Saturday morning. Supplies are provided, though you’re welcome to bring your own, and impromptu wrapping demos are a possibility.

“We’ve done it for two or three years, and it’s been a hit in the past,” said Branch Manager Dan Mickelson. “If we can supply people with stuff, it’s just one last thing for them to worry about.”

Coming up in January, the Silt Branch will also be offering a round of “community education network” programming based on proposals submitted by locals with something to share. Topics can range from photography to bird watching to knitting.

“It’s geared for adults who just want to learn,” Mikelson explained. “We’re open to suggestions, and we’re always looking to fill needs in the community to the degree that we can. Our programming budget has really shrunk, so we’re going to have to be creative.”

For a full list of programs, visit

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