Stats show your library continues to flourish even in COVID times

Annually at this time of year, Meg Wempe, library director, prepares an annual report for the library’s board of trustees summarizing the highlights of the past year.  The information also is used when your library applies for grants and it is required to be shared with state, county and town governments to keep them informed. 

Of course, 2021 was not a normal year.  For a second year COVID-19 required organizations to be nimble, flexible and adaptive as various mandates, recommendations and restrictions were enacted to keep everyone as safe as possible under pandemic conditions.

Here are details about your library’s 2021 operations.  You can pick up the infographic version at the library.  

  • The COVID effect:  Not surprisingly under lingering COVID conditions, in 2021 our patrons downloaded 8,667 e-books and e-audio books.  That breaks down to 4,951 e-books and 3,716 e-audio books.  This is a 16.5% increase after a 60% jump the year before, our first COVID operations year.  We continued curbside as well as walk-in services.  While many numbers increased from 2020, some of them still are not what they were before the pandemic.
  • Resource sharing:  AspenCat allows our patrons access not only to the 27,458 items in our collection but also to more than a million items in the other AspenCat libraries.  The Colorado Library Consortium courier service provides daily delivery to subscribing libraries throughout the state.  In 2021 we borrowed 9,414 items, up 39.6% from 2020,  and loaned 2,542, up 28.3% from the year before.  By taking advantage of the purchasing power of the State Library and Colorado Library Consortium, we subscribed to multiple educational databases including EBSCOHost, Learning Express and the Encyclopedia Britannica at substantial savings.  (You can access these electronic resources and more by clicking on “Online Resources” on our website.)
  • Collection development:  Providing our patrons with materials that are current and relevant to the diverse interests of the community is one of our principal goals.  We have 27,458 total items in our collection.  In 2020 we added 3,005, including 259 from donations worth $4,611, and deleted 3,619 worn or outdated items. 
  • Usage stats:  We checked out 84,533 items, an increase of  32.2% over 2020.  We welcomed 17,249 website visits and handled 8,048 computer uses. 
  • Programming:  Providing programs for all ages is a very high priority. When COVID began, our programming dramatically changed.  We increased the number of virtual programs, began take-and-make programs, and limited in-person programs to by appointment.  Then, as 2021 progressed, our programing was able to go back mostly to in-person.  In total we had 584 programs in 2021 with 4,308 attendees.
  • Volunteers:  We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of the community.  Our volunteers contributed 1,551 hours valued at $44,265, up 62.7% over the year before.

LEGO Club on Saturday

Kids aged six to 12 are invited to bring your imaginations – LEGOs are provided – on Saturday, January 22 from 11 a.m.-noon for the free LEGO Club.  LEGO challenges also are posted on Facebook.

Spanish conversation

Next Monday, January 24 from 4-5 p.m. we will gather in person at the library to practice speaking and listening skills together.  There is no minimum skill level required to attend.   As an alternative, you can learn Spanish and many other languages using the Transparent Language Learning database available at https:pagosalibrary.org/online-resources/

Dungeons & Dragons   

Join us every other Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. for our in-person Dungeons & Dragons game free for teens and young adults.  The next one is Tuesday, January 25.

Teen DIY

Fourth-12th graders are invited to a teen DIY event next Wednesday, January 26 from 4-5 p.m. when you’ll enjoy some quick, fun and easy finger knitting projects.

T-shirt design contest

We’re looking for creative help in designing a t-shirt for this year’s Summer Reading Program.  The theme will be “oceans of possibilities.”  Pick up a flyer at the library or go online to our website at https://pagosalibrary.org for details.  The winner will receive a free t-shirt with their design.  The winning t-shirt will be worn by staff during the Summer Reading Program and a limited  number will be available for purchase. This contest is open to all ages.  Deadline for submissions is February 18.

S.T.E.A.M enrichment kits

Participants in this free enrichment program for youngsters aged five and up receive a kit guiding you through science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) projects.  The kits are available all month but registration is required by calling your library at 970-264-2209. 

Writing challenge

A new all-ages writing challenge will be posted January 24  on the library’s Facebook page.  We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating in this free all-ages activity.

Special family storytime

Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. join us for free in-person children’s stories, games and plenty of reasons to get up and move.  

Tech Time

Free in-person slots are available from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and 2-4 p.m. Thursdays.   Brad will help you resolve issues with your computer, smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices. 

ESL classes

Free in-person evening classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-7 p.m.  Beginning students attend from 4-5 p.m., intermediate students from 5-6 p.m. and advanced students from 7-8 p.m.   Please help us spread the word about these classes to others in our community who would be interested, and contact us by phone or email if you have any questions.  

Las clases de ESL

Las clases nocturnas gratuitas en persona se llevan a cabo los martes y jueves de 4 a 7 p.m. Los estudiantes principiantes asisten de 4 a 5 p.m., estudiantes intermedios de 5-6 p.m. y estudiantes avanzados de 7-8 p.m. Por favor, ayúdenos a correr la voz sobre estas clases a otras personas en nuestra comunidad que estén interesadas, y contáctenos por teléfono o correo electrónico si tiene alguna pregunta. 

Adult education

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) session take place on Thursdays  from 5:30-8 p.m. when Mark helps with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.

In-person gaming

Enjoy free all-ages video gaming on the X-box 360 Kinect on Fridays from 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.  

Library hours

Most of our programs are happening in person.  Also, our hours have returned to pre-COVID levels – and even more on weekdays:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays open 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

 For those uncomfortable coming into the building, curbside service continues.  Phone 264-2209 when you are in the parking lot so staff can bring the items out for you.  If you put a hold on something, please wait for your usual alert (email, phone call or text) before coming to pick it up. 

Activities calendars available

To be sure you don’t miss any of the free library activities available to you and your family, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month.  There are three versions – children, teens and adults.

Large print

“The Midnight Lock” by Jeffry Deaver is the latest in the Lincoln Rhyme mystery series. 

Other novels

“The Last Dance of the Debutante” by Julia Kelly follows the lives of the last three debutantes to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Books on CD

E-Day II: Burning Earth” by Nicholas Sansbury Smith is book two of this dystopian fiction series.  “Leviathan Falls” by James S.A. Corey is the final volume in this interplanetary adventure. 


“How the Brain Works” is a DK  guide to how the brain works with easy-to-understand graphics.  “Find Your Unicorn Space” by Eve Rodsky provides interviews with thought-leaders, academics and others to show how you can unleash your creativity.  “The Dying Citizen” by Victor Davis Hason describes the author’s view that progressive elites, tribalism and globalization are hurting America.

Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

We have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and audio books for all ages – children, tweens, teens and adults – in cloudLibrary.  The items in cloudLibrary are purchased separately from physical items, so the books available are different – and it continues to use the consortium’s contributions as well as those that we bought.  Select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use.  Email or phone us at 970-264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


Many thanks to Jan and Jeff Hester as well as Susan and Terry Arrington for their generous donations, and to our anonymous donors for their materials donations.  Please put your materials donations into the dropbox at the library – not at City Market, which is reserved for returns. 

Library foundation

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library Foundation to support and enhance your library by raising funds for information resources, programs, services and facilities.  Mail checks to P.O. Box 2045, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or call Cindi Galabota at 970-264-2209. 

Quotable Quote

“Living is like tearing through a museum.  Not until late do you really start absorbing what you aw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it all in at once.” – Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), British actress, humanitarian and fashion icon.

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