Carbondale's community connector

Out of the basement and into the library

Locations: News Published

Lacy Dunlavy has student taught in Boulder County, paged through declassified military files in the basement of CU’s Norlin Library and talked Eagle County residents out of their favorite heirlooms. But her new role as Carbondale Branch Librarian is everything she’s been seeking.

“I wanted a more socially facing position,” she explained. “I realized I was really focused on resources and creating informed citizens. I want to reach the most people possible to make the most impact possible.”

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Besides, she and her husband Ryan (who works at Valley Lumber) didn’t come to Colorado from a part of Ohio “with more cows than people” to live on the Front Range. So three years ago, armed with a Bachelor’s in English Education from Ohio University, online librarian credentials and both intern and paid archivist experience, she nabbed a job with the library in Eagle — a town she had never visited.

Along with their chocolate lab Scout and German Shepherd mix Sabo, the couple have lived near Glenwood Springs for the duration, and their idyllic location in Canyon Creek is hard to beat for a fly fishing enthusiast.

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With former Carbondale Librarian Jeannine Stickle now working in Pitkin County, Dunlavy’s taking the opportunity to commute the other direction.

“If I’d had my pick, it would have been Carbondale,” she noted. “This is a community place.”

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That’s even more apparent to Dunlavy in a period of financial difficulty for Garfield County Libraries. With taxes from oil and gas development on the decline, the library district has reduced staff, hours and book purchases.

But, Dunlavy noted, “money doesn’t make the library district. It’s the people. The budget is balanced. Staff are going to see this through.”

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Furthermore, she emphasized that the services set up when things were flush are still in place, so folks can order materials from around the state, use extensive online databases and the facility is in great shape. Indeed, library card registration up, the community room is heavily booked and everyone from kids to seniors to business people come through the doors. Movie rentals are popular, but books remain king.

“People still see the value in the library,” Dunlavy said. “Ancient Egypt had libraries. We have always been trying to store information.”

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She challenged readers to imagine how folks might react to the idea of libraries being pitched today, and still encounters new patrons who seems awed at the ability to access so much for free.

As for whether the change of leadership will prompt any immediate changes, Dunlavy doesn’t think so. Her love of history is bound to get the better of her eventually, but for now, she’s just trying to get to know the library and the town.

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Lacy’s bookshelf

As you might expect, Dunlavy is an enthusiastic reader herself, with more than 1000 books in her private collection and copious notes to go with them. We asked her to recommend some of her top reads in different categories.

Favorite fiction
“The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy

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Favorite nonfiction
“Boom” by Tom Brokaw

Childhood read that stuck with her
“Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey

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What got her hooked on reading
“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce

Beach read / guilty pleasure
“Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty

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More than meets the eye
“Watchmen” by Alan Moore

Required reading you’ll enjoy anyway
“The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare

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Soul crushing (in a good way)
“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara