Bud Werner Memorial Library celebrates 50 with big birthday bash Saturday | SteamboatToday.com
Frances Hohl/For Steamboat Today

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Bud Werner Memorial Library celebrates 50 with big birthday bash Saturday

Bud Werner Memorial Library

— Back in 1967, the Bud Werner Memorial Library opened up its doors with a collection of 6,600 books and albums. In 2017, it carries 95,000 books, audio books and videos. The digital library collection is even more astounding.

Top 10 reasons Steamboat loves its library

1) Home-like atmosphere

"It's like a living room with all your favorite books."

Peter Claassen/New Resident

2) Children's section

"A great place to come in the winter when there's not much for little kids to do."

Callie Drury/mom

"I like that you can find little things and toys around the library and turn them in for prizes."

Ben Hack/5-years-old

3) Library staff

"First of all, the staff is helpful! I used to come here before I had a computer and they helped me so much."

Rebecca Franke/CNCC nursing student

"I love Miss Sarah (Kostin). She's really nice."

Daniel Tegtmeyer/7-years-old

4) Great views

"Very magical location. I'm happy to do my homework here."

Monica Sanchez/CMC student

5) Calming vibe

"My favorite place to sit is at the beautiful wooden tables by the big window. You feel a sense of comfort, serenity."

Emily Colin/teacher

6) Community programs

"I have taken advantage of many of the films and talks offered — for free! What a wonderful community resource."

Andie/local

7) Architecture/design

"I knew there'd be a library but this is really beautiful. More than I imagined. I'm still exploring it."

Kelly/website operations and new Oak Creek resident

8) Books, books, books and more

"I love that there is such a wide selection of materials, and the inter-library loan system is so quick and efficient that I can order anything I need."

Jessica Berg/local

9) Modern technology

"I like that we can get free eBooks we can download to our devices."

Ed Madayag/Steamboat resident

10) Meeting rooms

"The meeting rooms are fabulous to have a conference call or a quite place to work."

Andie/Local

But the beautiful arts and craft-style facility is more than simply a library as it celebrates its 50th birthday Saturday with birthday cake, music and dancing.

"This building is a jewel in this community," said library employee Karen Fitzgerald, whose own children grew up combing the shelves and sitting for story time. "People come here for every reason imaginable and hopefully feel at home and find all the resources they need."

When it first opened in 1967, the library was only 3,000 square feet. Expansion in the past decade has created a 35,000-square-foot library that has become integral to the community.

Fitzgerald credits Executive Director Chris Painter and the library's board of directors with the library's inviting atmosphere. Painter and others spent several years interviewing actual users and visiting other libraries after voters funded an expansion in 2005.

"We wanted to achieve a balance between a social, community place and the library as a sanctuary and retreat," Painter said.

Native Jo Lockhart said their goals were achieved with splendid success.

"The way the light reflects from the snow into the library opens up the mind," Lockhart said about the building whose windows overlook the river. "I grew up next to the library swimming in the creek and river. I love to see and smell it."

Fitzgerald, who creates library displays, says a thousand people per day visit the library.

"(That's) amazing since we only have about 12,000 people in the city and the county has about 25,000," Fitzgerald added.

Incredibly, the Bud Werner Memorial Library hosted about 750 community programs in 2015, or about two per day. Programs include children's story hour, talks by well-known authors, community parties, fundraisers and more.

Painter is excited to host the library's birthday bash from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

"Everyone in town is invited," she said.

"We are having a gigantic birthday cake (for 200 people), coffee, tea and hot cider and music by the Yampa Valley Boys right in the middle of the library," Painter said.

There will also be a temporary tattoo station and "literary" prizes given out to partygoers. The library is at 13th and Lincoln in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Top 10 reasons Steamboat loves its library

1) Home-like atmosphere

“It’s like a living room with all your favorite books.”

Peter Claassen/New Resident

2) Children’s section

“A great place to come in the winter when there’s not much for little kids to do.”

Callie Drury/mom

“I like that you can find little things and toys around the library and turn them in for prizes.”

Ben Hack/5-years-old

3) Library staff

“First of all, the staff is helpful! I used to come here before I had a computer and they helped me so much.”

Rebecca Franke/CNCC nursing student

“I love Miss Sarah (Kostin). She’s really nice.”

Daniel Tegtmeyer/7-years-old

4) Great views

“Very magical location. I’m happy to do my homework here.”

Monica Sanchez/CMC student

5) Calming vibe

“My favorite place to sit is at the beautiful wooden tables by the big window. You feel a sense of comfort, serenity.”

Emily Colin/teacher

6) Community programs

“I have taken advantage of many of the films and talks offered — for free! What a wonderful community resource.”

Andie/local

7) Architecture/design

“I knew there’d be a library but this is really beautiful. More than I imagined. I’m still exploring it.”

Kelly/website operations and new Oak Creek resident

8) Books, books, books and more

“I love that there is such a wide selection of materials, and the inter-library loan system is so quick and efficient that I can order anything I need.”

Jessica Berg/local

9) Modern technology

“I like that we can get free eBooks we can download to our devices.”

Ed Madayag/Steamboat resident

10) Meeting rooms

“The meeting rooms are fabulous to have a conference call or a quite place to work.”

Andie/Local