By Creed Kidd
We have tales of growth and loss this month.
Loss in the sense that two of Red Feather Lakes Community Library mainstay volunteers – Ann Lee and Sandy Merritt – will be leaving the area this summer for lower climes. We wish them well and would want to point out both their accomplishments as well of the changes they have seen and contributed to through the transformative growth of the library over the past 25 years.
Both remember the Red Feather Lakes Library Foundation – the link between the library’s early days as a pure volunteer group to the current status of library district under Colorado local government law. We believe that Sandy was for a time on the library board then.
The Foundation was transitional, but critical in providing a legal basis for the library and many locals worked in many ways as volunteers to acquire donated land, run the series of legalities that was necessary to reach recognized status under Larimer County and Colorado Law, prepare, through grants and fundraising for the construction of the first standalone library in 1987, hire the first paid librarian and later an assistant, and begin the process that culminated in 2000 with the formation of the Red Feather Mountain Library District that for the first time gave the area and the library equal stature with 150 other Colorado municipal, county and district public libraries.
While both Sandy and Ann undertook many tasks during that period, perhaps Ann will be best remembered locally as ‘overdues caller extraordinaire’, what some would call a thankless job of calling and reminding some library users that the books they borrowed were late – and, as returned could then be used and enjoyed by other library users. She did this with appropriate grace and finesse and ensured that some titles – otherwise forgotten – were returned to the library for other neighbors to use.
We’ve heard Sandy say that her first introduction into the workings of the library was an intent to save the library money – handling some of those tasks that allowed paid library staff to work other pressing responsibilities. A first was handling the processing and preparation for books for the shelf; professional-looking mylar jackets that protected the book; spine-labels that systematically allowed the book to be found on the shelf; ownership markings so that the title would not be mistaken as private or belonging to another library.
That beginning grew into cataloging, book repair, shelving, inventory, shelf-maintenance, some repair work, outside yard work and trimming in the summer, memorial board maintenance, and much more.
When coming to the library in 2010, I was told that while all other volunteer activities were tallied on another sheet, the volunteer efforts of Sandy and Ann were listed on a separate sheet through the pure volume of service.
In 2013 Sandy was recognized by the Colorado Library Association as ‘Colorado Library Volunteer of the Year’ and locally in both 2004 and 2013 – the only person to have that honor – as the RFL Library Special Volunteer of the year.
We wish them well and will miss them much.
Library hours: 7 days a week, 9 am – 6 pm
Red Feather Lakes Community Library – we just say NO. NO overdue fines; NO hidden fees; NO hard-to-understand or complicated rules; NO days closed excepting major holidays & snow days; NO card needed for internet service and NO wait lines; NO time limit for computer use; and, NO-hassle personalized service.
“This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”