Lone Cone Library: A Stretched and Strained Beloved Library, and a Proposed Solution for Relief
Here is an audio version of this blog post:
The young father arrived through the front door of the small library, bearing an infant-carrier in one hand, his other hand split between the burden of nestling both a small toddler’s hand and some documents. He looked at ease, not trifled a bit by the momentous task ahead of him. He strode toward the fax machine, intent on completing his mission and continuing onto the next item on his errand list, all before the little one in the infant carrier awoke.
The library was small and a bit cramped, with two desks arranged in such a way that said “office territory, please do not enter.” The library clerk was fixed on her work, her finger following a document, while her other hand furiously clicked items on her computer screen with a mouse. From where he stood, he could see the entire library. He looked around, seeming to access his surroundings.
First noticing the children’s corner that stood behind him, a self-made room with walls made of children’s books, to his left were 3-4 aisles of books, and to his right was a computer center.
The library seemed to be alive with its own heartbeat: the clicking from the library clerk, the hum of the computers next door with their pilots occasionally clearing their throats, and the sound of books being pulled from their comfortable spots, only to be previewed and returned to their spots with a relaxing “thump” – all combined to make a pleasant rhythm. …
“The sounds of a well-used library,” he concluded.
As the young father completed his task, the librarian approached with an apologetic look on her face.
“I am so sorry sir,” she said, “Could I ask you to move your daughter back a few feet?”
He immediately realized that the infant carrier was blocking the main thoroughfare of the library, which was not difficult, because the main thoroughfare was only a couple of feet wide itself. He did so happily, completed his fax, gathered his belongings and children, passed along his appreciation for the facility and rambled out the door – his mission complete.
This short story was shared during an interview with Carrie Andrew. This was a true experience she had recently with a library patron, although it’s embellished a little here. (The facts are that we are not sure whether he had a long list to complete that day.) Regardless, these instances happen often daily. There is just not enough room for more than one person at a time in certain areas of the current library. This has been a growing reality for the past several years.
The FACTS behind this growing REALITY
In the past five years, the library’s staff has grown from 2 full-time and 1 part-time employees to 2 full-time and 5 part-time employees. Through grants, these increases in staffing were made possible, which, in turn, made it possible for the library to come up with programs and services the community wanted to see.
Story-time is one of those programs. In times such as ours where technology rules, and face-to-face engagement drools, story-time and other events like it create a place for community members to connect. It also provides a wonderful early introduction to books for local children.
But as programs have increased, so has the need for more space. More space is needed to run beloved programs such as story-time, and increase shelving for books in storage. More space would definitely help employees fulfill their roles within the library as well.
For example, Lauri Kozey, the Lone Cone Library’s clerk, has many duties. Included in those duties is the library’s bookkeeping. Due to the small size of the library, bookkeeping is performed during library business hours and is often interrupted by library patrons needing to check out books and ask questions. Getting the bookkeeping completed during the slow times of the library day was in the past possible. But with increased patron traffic and increased paperwork associated with additional grants and added staff, this balancing act has become much more difficult.
How a DREAM is now becoming a REALITY
If the Lone Cone Library Board of Directors were to have an official quote it would be similar to that in the movie “Field of Dreams” when the lead character heard a mysterious voice say, “If you build it, they will come.”
Carrie Andrew and the Lone Cone Library Board have a dream, and they are willing and able to do the work to make it come true. Their vision is for citizens of Norwood to have access to amenities, resources, programs, classes, meeting rooms, community space, and outdoor space that could enrich lives and expand opportunities.
Carrie Andrew and the Lone Cone Library Board which include Sonny Lopez, Robin Snyder, Mary Beth Cook and Monet Ragsdale have been working diligently for the past several years to get the framework for a new library for Norwood, Colorado laid. Like the wheels on a grandfather clock they have ticked away at each task. First property was acquired, then after repeated excursions into the community for input, the plans for a library were unveiled. The next daunting item on the list was the perhaps the most important, and without it all the previous groundwork laid before would be for not. The challenge that lay before the LCL Board is funding. The funding to build a new Norwood community library was based on a mill levy that would need to be passed by voters in November.
In efforts to decrease the burden on property owners in Norwood and its surrounding area Carrie Andrew and the LCL Board went after a DOLA grant. It took months of preparation, but on August 7th they received the news that DOLA had awarded the library $1.5 million to be used towards the construction of a new library building in Norwood.
The next hurdle the library faces is the passing of a mill levy in November. This is necessary to gather the remaining funds needed to complete the new library project. A kicker is that DOLA funds are contingent on the passing of the mill levy, if it does not pass, no funds will be awarded.
If you are curious and would like further info about this library project or want to know more about the quantifiable value it provides our community, please visit www.loneconelibrary.org.