New free early literacy program comes to our county

An exciting new Colorado-based literacy program that helps families and caregivers build their babies’ vocabulary starts in Archuleta County on January 11, thanks to a partnership involving your library, AmeriCorps and the San Juan BOCES.

Called LENA, the free sessions start the week of January 11. Half-hour Q & A discussions to provide more information for interested parents and caregivers will take place Tuesday, January 5 at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 9 at 10 a.m. on Zoom, with the link available on the library website.

You need to sign up for this special program in order to be enrolled in the workshops that will provide you with personalized information and ideas to help your child.  Please contact Michelle Salmeron-Ramierez at 970-585-4293 or nichelle@unitedway-swco.org.  The program is available in English and Spanish. It was created for babies from new-born to age three, and will help you use talking to build your child’s brain.

Holiday closures

Your library will be closed today, December 31 and January 1 in celebration of New Year’s, but curbside service will be available until noon on Thursday, New Year’s Eve.

Free COVID book for indigenous families

Thanks to an anonymous donor, copies of a new book titled “Our smallest warriors, our strongest medicine: Overcoming COVID-19” are available free at your library for indigenous families.

The book is intended to be read by a parent, caregiver or teacher with a child or group of children.  It is beautifully illustrated by Joelle Joyner, a freelance artist and powwow jingle dancer from Detroit.

The story features conversations between two young twins and their mother, who is a front-line nurse, as well as their grandmother, Grandfather Eagle and their friends, about how to keep themselves, family and friends safe from COVID.  There also are several pages of helpful guidelines for adults to help make the book more relevant to their children.

To produce the book, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health convened a team of experts in child development and communications to take advantage of indigenous storytelling skills and traditions to portray a sense of communal strength and hope in the face of COVID-19.

In addition to the free copies available to indigenous families, a copy has been added to our collection for everyone’s enjoyment.

Library operations update

As a safety measure, your library staff has been split into separate smaller workgroups in an attempt to lower exposure and keep the library open should somebody test positive.  Because of this, you may notice that occasionally service is a little slower than usual.

“Because libraries have been declared an essential service, we are very glad that we can continue serving our community’s needs while still keeping patrons and staff safe, said Meg Wempe, library director  “With circumstances changing quickly, though, we encourage you to email or call with any questions that you may have about our operations – and to keep up to date with state and county COVID guidelines.”

Here is the current status at your library:

  • We are limited to 15 patrons at a time plus staff in the building, since we must operate at only 25% capacity.
  • We remain open on Thursdays from 1 p.m.- 7 p.m. with 1-2 p.m. reserved for seniors and higher risk populations. 
  • Other hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with 9 a.m.-10 a.m. for seniors and higher risk populations. Saturdays: 10 a.m-2 p.m.  Sundays: closed.
  • We are accepting meeting room reservations only for individuals or members of the same household, with library programs having first dibs on the rooms.  You can schedule only so far out, usually two weeks to a month, depending on where we are in the month. 
  • Hand sanitizers are available and there will be frequent cleanings inside the building throughout the day.  Please practice social distancing and wear facial coverings while you are in the building.  If you don’t have a mask, we are happy to give one to you.
  • Nine computers are available. In most cases usage will be allowed for three hours per day. Staff will clean and disinfect the computers between uses.
  • One early literacy computer is available for youngsters Monday-Saturday.
  • Curbside service continues Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. except for Thursdays when it’s from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  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.  
  • You can drop your returns of books, CDs and DVDs in the dropbox at City Market, as well as in the dropbox at the library.  No donations in the City Market box, please.
  • Notary service is available on a very limited basis.  Please call for an appointment. Cost is $5 per notary.
  • You can place holds on items from other libraries.  They are in different stages of open, so items may take longer than usual.  
  • We’re happy to provide tech help in person or over the phone for our online resources.

Special note   

“We want people to always feel welcome in the library, and to experience a very friendly vibe when they visit,” said Meg Wempe, library director.  “But we need to remind everyone that, similar to other public indoor spaces in Colorado, we must follow the executive order that requires people aged 11 or older to wear a covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask, we are pleased to assist you outside the building through our curbside service.”

Activities calendars available

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

New writing challenge

On January 4 and 25we will post new writing challenges on the library’s Facebook page.  We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating.  This is a free all-ages activity.

Knitting takeaways

We have added free knitting takeaways to our collection of crafts and activities you can pick up at the  library entrance during open hours to take for your in-home enjoyment.  We’ll have patterns craft ideas, instructions and some limited supplies available.

After-school program

In response to COVID, we have revamped our free after-school program into STEAM enrichment kits, STEAM standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, for ages five and up.  Registration is required at 970-264-2209.  Pick up your kit and then bring your completed projects back to the library to be displayed in the last week of the month.

DIY craft takeaway for kids

Drop by your library for free DIY crafts takeaways for youngsters age 10 and older during open hours.  Pick up a packet outside the library.      

In-person gaming

Free in-person gaming is suspended due to COVID safety concerns.

Storywalk for kids

Weather permitting, every other Thursday, Josie posts signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up towards the Elementary School detailing a new free Storywalk for kids.  The January 2-13 theme is playing in the snow. After you finish the walk, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library. 

Tech Time

Make a 15- to 30-minute appointment for one of three free in-person slots available noon-1 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Brad will help one person (or one couple) at a time to resolve issues with your computer, smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices. 


Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. by appointment.  Please register so we can keep it to a small group in our limited open spaces.  No walk-ins, please. 

Dungeons & Dragons

Join us Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. for Dungeons & Dragons free for teens and young adults on Google Meet.  Contact claire@pagosalibrary.org to learn how to join. If you don’t have internet access, contact us anyway – we may be able to accommodate you in the library. 

Children’s programs on Facebook

Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., join us on the library’s Facebook page for free children’s programs.  Wednesday storytimes are on Facebook Live, so you can interact with Josie.  Saturday’s Discovery Times with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more are prerecorded.   

Adult education

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) accelerated GED course takes place in person when Mark helps with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.  Contact the library and Mark will work with you to schedule a date and time to meet.


“How Not to Diet Cookbook” by Dr. Michael Greger contains more than 100 recipes for plant-based recipes meals. soups, salads, snacks and sides.  “Hand Delivered Hope” by Jeni Cook follows an American couple who built schools and provided educational resources to forgotten communities around the world.  “The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable” by Juliette de Bairacli Levy is an updated version of this classic guide for farmers.  “Abandoned Western Colorado” by Jeff D. Eberle explores ghost towns and mining camps of the western Rockies.  “Olive, Mabel & Me” by sports broadcaster Andrew Cotter tells of life with his Labrador retrievers during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Large print

“The Falcon Always Wings Twice” by Donna Andrews is a Meg Langslow mystery.  “The Crystal Cave Trilogy” by Susan Wittig Albert contains three novellas.

Books on CD

“Dark Tides” by Philippa Gregory is an historical novel set in 1670’s London and Venice.  “Shadow of the Dragon” by Tom Clancy is a Jack Ryan adventure.  “Three Women Disappear” by James Patterson is a mystery.  “Hidden in Plain Sight” by Jeffrey Archer is the second novel featuring Det. William Warwick.  “Marauder” by Clive Cussler is an Oregon Files adventure.  “The Law of Innocence” by Michael Connelly is a Mickey Haller thriller. 


“Bears” is the Nature documentary about bears around the world.  “Yellowstone” starring Kevin Costner is season one.   

Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

We have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and downloadable audio books for patrons of all ages – children, tweens, teens and adults.  Using cloudLibrary, you can download a book to read or an audio book to listen to.  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, not just those that we bought.  That is why you need to select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use.  Please email or phone us at 970-264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


 For her generous material donation we thank Christine Bemish.  Pease put your material donations into the dropbox at the library – not at City Market, which is reserved for returns.  Donations undergo the same rigorous three-day quarantine process as returns.  

 Quotable Quote

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” – Vern McLellan, author of books including “Proverbs for People.”

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