Public libraries want readers to visit and return

Encouragement: Fine-free week

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— National Library Week is more than a chance to return overdue books free of fines. It's about enjoying the wonderful places libraries are.

"National Library Week calls attention to our community libraries and celebrates what an important place they are in the communities and nation as a whole," said Chris Painter, the director of Bud Werner Memorial Library.

One of the highlights of next week will be the unveiling of the Steamboat Springs Library Card. The card allows access to materials in all local libraries including Bud Werner, Colorado Mountain College, Steamboat Springs High School, and Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools, Painter said.

The card is decorated with a colorful painting of Fish Creek Falls by local artist John Belz. The artwork not only symbolizes Steamboat Springs, but the spirit of the collaboration among the libraries.

"We could have put a picture of somebody reading or some books on it, but that would have been generic. We feel the thing that makes Steamboat Springs so special is the natural environment," Painter said. "The new card symbolizes our efforts to pool resources and to work cooperatively to maximize what we have."

Bud Werner will still honor its standard copper-colored cards, but patrons can come in and exchange them for the new cards.

The project has been occurring in phases. It started when school officials decided they needed to upgrade their systems, Painter said. They chose the MARMOT system, which is what both Bud Werner and CMC use to catalog books. All the schools went online this fall. The card allows access to what has been catalogued at all the libraries, high school media specialist Martha Oman said.

"The card represents what our catalog looks like and our catalog represents Bud Werner and CMC (and the schools)," she said. "Our collection is now multiplied."

When patrons look for books at one library, they can get the listings for all six local libraries and are welcome to check out books at any of those locations with the new card.

"We hope that it helps the community feel welcome in the schools, that the community will feel part of the schools," Oman said.

Before using a school library, visitors must check in at the front office.

For the first time, the high school library will move its collection of summer required reading to Bud Werner so that students can check the books out there. In the past, the books stayed at the high school because there was no way to check them out, Painter said.

This concept of combining library resources, even among different districts, is a movement in libraries.

"The barriers are coming down," Painter said.

Other highlights of National Library Week include no fines on any overdue book returned Monday through Friday next week, trivia contests, story times, arts-and-crafts projects and scavenger hunts. There also will be activities for parents and students at all local school libraries.


-- To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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