Duarte column: Appreciating the treasures of our libraries
Promoting social interaction and activities that stimulate the intellect are features in a good library.
This is precisely the power generated by our libraries in the valley. Through library collections, programs and physical spaces they boost cultural enrichment and nurture a responsible community inspired by the love of knowledge.
Carbondale and Glenwood Spring libraries have a winsome touch that symbolizes the essence of each town, very good user assistance and the tireless support of Garfield County Libraries.
An important part of the cultural enrichment of this valley is due to the libraries’ hard work and their generous donors, looking to attract the community and always respecting and honoring cultural diversity.
To value these efforts is the least we can do. When my family and I arrived to this valley 10 years ago, what really attracted us and made us feel welcome were the libraries and their wonderful people.
For my children and me, the libraries were the engine that led us to adapt to our new life. We connected with resources, learned appropriate codes of conduct in the community and met new people.
Children who often visit the library have more time to discover the countless treasures hidden in each book and have less time to waste their brain with video games or television.
A young person who spends time in the library has many opportunities to use all the resources that it offers, such as clubs for reading, writing, art and games that stimulate his/her intellect.
Parents who explore the library looking for activities for their family are more likely to encourage their kids to become avid learners, or to be determined to earn a school degree in the future.
An adult or senior enjoying time in the library has a weapon to win the battle against loneliness, be up to date, breathe the strength of youth, and find the enthusiasm and smiles of children. They can even make a difference by getting involved as volunteers.
As I write this column, it is to be decided soon who will be the next executive director of Garfield County Libraries, and everything indicates that the Board of Trustees has been doing a good job in selecting the most qualified candidate.
The search has narrowed it down to two outstanding finalists, Sam Passey and Sue Lathrop. So, hopefully in a short time, we’ll know who will take the leadership of these important library branches.
For now, I already have my wish list; the first would be a strategic focus on the family, second, to permanently have someone welcoming and guiding individuals arriving at each library, and third, having multilingual collections available, including Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, German and Hebrew.
We cannot expect our children to explore or enjoy other languages if our libraries do not offer appropriate resources that help them encourage the learning process.
I would like to add to my wish list a staff that is always willing to serve, that loves its work and makes everyone feel welcome to visit the library.
I must share with you one of the many success stories that I witnessed at Glenwood Springs Library.
Last month, the staff there met the challenge of coordinating a group of more than 40 Latino parents who read a book; their children were also involved in this activity.
The value of this was the process itself; from obtaining a library card to checking out the book, reading it and returning it. The children lived a wonderful experience by seeing their parents read and by signing their reading time report, feeling proud to do so.
One parent said, “When my husband and my children see me reading, I feel very important. I learn things I did not know. Now I want to read more.”
Thanks to Sue Schnitzer and her tenacious team for their unwavering support and for congratulating the Latino families who accepted the challenge.
Libraries have the power to contribute to the people they serve. They are essential links in the ecosystems of hope in our community.
A family who knows and uses all the resources that a library offers has the opportunity to strengthen ties of communication and let members respect one another, as well as reinforcing the community values.
It is impossible to deny that the libraries of this valley have formed and inspired my family and thousands of others.
This recognition is for all the people who make the magic of working toward more literate societies.
Thank you for your hard work. It is a gift worthy of appreciation.
Eloisa Duarte, an active volunteer, has a degree in communications and a passion for education. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on the third Thursday of each month.
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