Library opens local history collection |

Library opens local history collection

Post Independent/Kara K. PearsonJaci Spuhler, director of the Garfield County Public Library System, sits in front of old biographical and reference material in the basement of the New Castle Library Friday.

NEW CASTLE ” Thanks to the efforts of Jaci Spuhler, director of the Garfield County Public Library System, the libraries from Carbondale to Parachute are really about more than just books.

Most recently, the New Castle Branch Library has opened up its local history collection after receiving a federal grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“(The grant) allowed for the preservation and access of a large number of old manuscripts ” many of which were stored in old boxes,” Spuhler said. “It provided funding for acid-free boxes as well as shelving.”

At the same time, the library is now in the process of collecting materials throughout the six-branch library system on oil shale history and information in the area.

“We’ve taken all our oil shale materials from the different libraries and brought them to one spot in New Castle,” Spuhler said. “It’s an ongoing project. But people can come in and look for oil shale material and the social impacts its had on our communities.”

The grant process was made possible in part because Spuhler recently received her preservation certificate from Rutgers University in New Jersey. The designation now enables her to evaluate facilities and collections to qualify for the grants.

“(The certificate) allowed me access to the collections we were worried about, because there’s no point in collecting something if no one can see it,” Spuhler said.

A room in the building has been expanded to make space for the new historical collection, which can be viewed by appointment.

Along with books and the historical collections, the library also offers inter-library and state-wide borrowing services as well as computer and Internet access, videos and audio books.

The New Castle Branch Library has been serving the community at its current location since 1967, although the library has been around since 1939. The entire library system, including the communities of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute, has been in place since the mid-1980s. New Castle remains the administrative headquarters for the library system.

“The usage in New Castle has grown so much,” Spuhler said. “We were such a small community for so long, and we’re still looking at a tremendous amount of growth in the area.”

The New Castle Branch Library does the highest volume of inter-library book transfers within the library system and around the state.

“It’s something we’re extremely proud of,” Spuhler said.

As for the future, the library hopes to expand its hours and days of operations.

Book donations are always welcomed and can be brought to the library during business hours.

Currently, the New Castle Branch Library is open 38 hours a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday; noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call the New Castle Branch Library at 984-2346.

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