Sopris Sun

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Shout it out: New library opens on July 20

By Lynn Burton

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

In one of the most eagerly awaited dates in recent history, the new Carbondale Branch Library opens at 10 a.m. on July 20.

The new library covers 13,000 square feet compared to the old library’s 3,600 square feet. The $5.2 million library was funded by a property tax that was levied after residents voted to form the Garfield County Public Library District in 2006. The district also retains a 1/4-cent sales tax for part of its operating budget, according to GCPLD Director Amelia Shelley. Other libraries have been built, expanded or are planned for the five other towns in the district.

Carbondale’s reputation as an art town is reflected inside and outside the new library.

Shannon Muse’s “Pillars of Light/Pillares de Luz” was selected through a competition and paid for by private funds. Muse, who lives across the street from the new library and has a studio in her backyard, designed seven tempered glass mosaic art pieces to wrap around the columns of the new library’s front entrance. Working with the community and seven donors, she incorporated quotes, ideas, pictures and numbers into the columns that represent thoughts on community, literacy, libraries and free thought. “A map that explains the underlying significance of each statement will be available at the library and there are elements that will appeal to both kids and adults,” Shelley said.

Other artists and their pieces include:

• John Hoffmann, who created several pieces for the new library including a fanciful security gate and coat rack, and bike racks in the form of dancing paper clips;

• Mark Cezark created a piece that will adorn the staff desk;

• Travis Fulton created a light sculpture that will hang above the desk;

• James Surls is loaning the library some of his sculptures on a rotating basis that will hang over the adult non-fiction area;

• The Colorado Yule marble company donated two slabs of marble that Robert Stone of Grand Junction used to create cube-shaped coffee tables inside the building, and a picnic table at the northeast corner of the library property;

• John Ackerman and his staff worked with spruce trees that were removed from the property to craft three long benches at the entrance to the building;

• Dave Struempler crafted a bench from left-over beetle kill pine, and also used beetle kill pine in the ceiling and some shelving;

• The children's area features an early literacy installation by the Burgeon Group of Phoenix, Arizona that incorporates pocket treasures collected from the community;

• The Mt. Sopris Historical Society is placing a rotating selection of artifacts in a special display case.

Speaking of history, Carbondale’s original library was located on Main Street and opened on Jan. 26, 1963.

“Prior to that there was a traveling wooden box that went from home to home with books,” Shelley said.

A Great Books discussion group hatched the idea of a Carbondale library, and it was initially stocked with 500 books the group collected in a book drive. In 1964, the Garfield County Commissioners voted to assume financial responsibility for the library’s annual budget of $4,000 and it became the second branch of the Garfield County Library System.

Next steps

The new Carbondale Branch Library hosts a grand opening celebration starting at 10 a.m. on July 20. There’ll be a ribbon cutting, refreshments, live music and giveaways. Books and other materials will also be available for checkout.

Library music July 20

Steve Standiford lined up some music for the Carbondale Branch Library opening. Here it is:

11:00 a.m. – The Honey Dewdrops;

Noon – Songwriters/singers/guitarists Josh Rogan, Jackson Emmer and Marc Bruell;

1:30 p.m. – Men with Guitars: Steve Standiford, Pat Winger and John Ramo;

2:00 p.m. – Band music with The Nanograms (Kendall Spyker and friends) and Gear Exchange;

2:30 p.m. – Students from the Academy of Music and Performance;

3:00 p.m. – Kids music with Sue Schnitzer, Mateo Sandate and Marc Bruell;

4:00 p.m. – Ukulele and acoustic jam;

4:30 p.m. – Drum Circle with library staffer Alejandra Rico.