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As a small, rural library we work with a certain number of issues that perhaps are less frequent downtown. For example, the gentleman the other day asking “Where can I get a cup of coffee and breakfast this morning? – everything seems to be closed.” Or the woman calling in last winter: “Could you find a tow-truck for me? I’m stuck in the snow up at Red Feather Highlands.” We direct people to hiking trails, restaurants, the Deadman Fire Tower, fishing licenses for the private lakes, camping spots, the Manhattan mining town site, grocery stores and gas stations and otherwise to Poudre Canyon, Cameron Pass, Cherokee Park, Lost Lake and scenic routes to both Laramie and Fort Collins.
By Creed Kidd, Library Director
Out-of-area visitors to the library are pleased to find that we have the only indoor public restrooms for many a mile. In discussing books and DVDs with a Colorado State Library official sometime back, he suggested that we needed a Redbox DVD dispenser nearby. I stated that if we had one in town we could place it by the town’s single pop machine. He was a bit shocked, and then amused.
But we don’t need a Redbox. The Trading Post has a fine rental collection and people who can engage you in a worthwhile conversation – the machine can’t. It’s a 55-mile drive to a box store and 50 miles to get a Happy Meal. However, there are happier meals available locally with fine folk both serving and as patrons.
Crossing unpaved, block-long Main Street, excepting the busy summer season, one is as likely to have to dodge a ground squirrel as a stray auto. We’ve occasionally looked out of the library’s front door unto a small herd of deer, seeming to watch us as avidly as we, them. Village dumpsters are chained and locked to prevent nocturnal marauding by bears. Occasionally, that’s not enough with overturned, heavy dumpsters and trash spread.
At the corner of the main library door, just off the sidewalk, I once found evidence of a rabbit taken by a hawk. And, on a cold winter night locking up the library I could hear the bark, yip and howl of a coyote pack perhaps a quarter-mile away.
Rural librarianship presents challenges. I try not to think of the three consecutive Februarys that the lengthy library septic line froze solid on or very near Valentine’s Day. Or, the days we’ve had to lock the library door to prevent the wind from pulling it open and breaking the glass. Admittance by knocking, only. On the other hand are those perfect summer days when it’s 75 in the village and 90 degrees (or more) in the valley.
Challenges, yes, but all-in-all not to be missed for the world.