A 30-million-page library is heading for the moon

A little lunar probe aboard Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft is carrying a 30-million-page archive of human knowledge etched into a DVD-size metal disc.  The Lunar Library, as the archive is known, constitutes a “civilization backup” to help ensure that our distant descendants never lose humanity’s collective wisdom,  according to Nova Spivack, co-founder of Arch Mission Foundation, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit behind the project.

The foundation is building a space-based archive designed to survive for six billion years or more – a million times longer than the oldest written records in existence today.

Sending a library into space isn’t entirely new for the Arch Foundation.  Before Elon Musk launched a Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun last year, Spivack and his team put in the glove box a quartz disc containing the entire text of Asimov’s famous “Foundation” trilogy of science-fiction books.

For the Lunar Library, the scope had to be far wider.  “We’re building a Rosetta Stone for beings who inhibit our solar system in the future,” Spivack said. 

One small component of the archive is a collection of songs, children’s drawings and writings about Israeli culture and history.  The rest is truly encyclopedic.  It includes more than 200 gigabytes of data with the entire English-language version of Wikipedia, tens of thousands and fiction or nonfiction books, a collection of textbooks, and a guide to 5,000 languages along with 1.5 billion sample translations between them.

Since people in the far future may not have a DVD player handy, and might not speak any language now in use, the top of the Lunar Library’s disc is engraved with tiny images of books and other documents explaining human linguistics, along with instructions on how to read the library beneath. 

ESL classes underway now

We  are now holding free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes twice weekly year-round at your library.  Classes are being held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12-2 pm with two highly experienced teachers.  Joyce Holdread is teaching the intermediate/advanced group  and Ellynn Ragone is teaching beginners. No registration is required.  Similar to other library programs, we are not able to provide childcare as a separate component. 

Comenzando el 1 de mayo, la biblioteca ofrecerá clases de inglés como segundo idioma (ESL). Las clases se llevan a cabo los miércoles y viernes desde el mediodia hasta las 2 pm.  Todas las clases son gratuitas y no es necesario registrarse.  Por favor ayúdanos a correr la voz sobre el regreso de las clases de íngles como segundo idioma en nuestra comunidad de Pagosa. 

Please help us spread the word about the return of ESL classes to our Pagosa community.

Lifelong Learning lectures

The fourth lecture in the free springLifelong Learning series on Thursdays takes place today, May 9 when Dr. Andrew Gulliford will discuss “The Woolly West: Colorado’s Hidden History of Sheepscapes.”   May 16 is “Financial Fraud Awareness” with Elsa White and Samantha Armistead from the Archuleta County Treasurer’s Office.  No presentation May 23.  May 30 is “Chasing Denali” when author and adventurer Jon Waterman shares his observations from 40 years of mountaineering on North America’s highest mountain.  Pick up a brochure at your library with more details on these very interesting talks.

Activities calendars available

To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your families at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month.  There are three versions – kids, tweens/teens and adults.  We look forward to seeing you at your library.  Se habla espanol.

Spanish conversation

Please note that there will be no Spanish classes in May.  They will resume in June.

All-ages gaming tomorrow

Join us tomorrow, Friday, May 10 from 2:30-3:45 p.m. for a free all-ages gaming session where you can enjoy video gaming on Wii and X-box 360 Kinect with your friends and family.  Starting this month, please note permanent change of time to 2:30  from 2 p.m. because of ESL classes at 2 p.m.

Legal clinic tomorrow

Tomorrow, Friday, May 10, from 2-3 p.m. is a free legal clinic for parties who have no attorney will take place via computer link.  Volunteer attorneys will answer questions, help fill out forms, and explain the process and procedure for legal issues in the areas of family law, civil litigation, property tax, probate law, collections, appeals, landlord-tenant law, veterans benefits and civil protection orders.  Please check in at the registration desk.  This clinic takes place the second Friday of every month. 

LEGO Club on Saturday    

Kids aged 6 – 12 are invited to bring your imaginations – LEGOs are provided – on Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. – noon for the free LEGO Club.

Tween gaming

Free gaming for 4th-8th grades is Monday, May 13 from 4-5 p.m.  Enjoy X-box 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.

Teen gaming

Free teen gaming happens on Tuesdays from 4–5:30 p.m. for teens in the 7th-12th grades.  Enjoy X-box 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.

Adult book club

Our adult book club meets the second Tuesday of each month from 2-3 p.m. to discuss alternating fiction and nonfiction titles.  On May 14 we will discuss “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak and enjoy light snacks and beverages.  If you need a copy, please stop by your library.  No registration required.

Teen writers group

Join us next Wednesday, May 15 from 4-5 p.m. for our free teen writers meeting for seventh-12 graders.  This group’s interests include stories, poetry, graphic novels and fan fiction. 

Computer classes

The regular program of  free sessions from 1-2 p.m. on alternating Thursdays to learn a useful technology skill or application resumes in mid-June.  No registration required.  

Adult education

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) takes place on  Mondays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., plus Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 7 p.m.  Come to your library to get help from Mark with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.  Note no PALS from Thursday, May 2 through Thursday, May 9 or on May 21.

Free tech sessions

Drop in with your technology questions on Thursdays from 2-4 p.m.   Please note there will be no tech sessions on Tuesdays in May.  They will resume in June.

Family storytimes

Every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. and Saturday from 9:30-10 a.m., join us for free great stories, fun songs and plenty of reasons to get up and move.  This is an excellent way for kids of all ages to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.  Both storytimes are open to babies, toddlers and youngsters of all ages to make it easier for parents to attend with their children depending on their busy schedules rather than the age of their little ones.  Note that next Wednesday, May 15 is a special Spanish storytime with Mable Barber.

Large print

“Wild Justice” by Loren D. Estleman is a Page Murdock frontier story.  “Line of Glory” by Thomas D. Clagett focuses on four people at the Alamo.  “Torture of the Mountain Man” by William W. and J.A. Johnston is a western set in Texas. 

Essays collection

“Everything in its Place” by Oliver Sacks is the final volume of writings by this doctor engaged with the central questions of human existence from illness to social media.  


“Wunderland” by Jennifer Cody Epstein moves between decades with stories of three women tied to Nazi Germany.  “Machines Like Me” by Ian McEwan takes place in alternative 1980s London. 

Mystery and suspense

“18th Abduction” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is the latest in the Women’s Murder Club thriller series. 


“Open Range” is an action western starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Cosner and Annette Bening.  “Puss in Boots” is a Dreamworks animated family film.  “Seed” is a multiple award-winning documentary about seeds, 94 percent of our planet’s varieties having disappeared in the last century.  “Boy Erased” is a biographical drama film that received two Golden Globe nominations.  “No Passport Required” with Marcus Samuelsson explores food and traditions across America.


“Machines Like Me” by Ian McEwan takes place in alternative 1980s London. 


“Falter” by Bill McKibben looks at climate change, new technologies and other trends that are negatively affecting the human experience.  “Our Planet” by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey is the photographic companion to the Netflix documentary series.  “Moon” by David Warmflash is an illustrated history of the development, observation and exploration of the moon.  “American Moonshot” by Douglas Brinkley celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing with a fresh look at the American space program.  “Chasing Denali” by Jon Waterman is the legendary story of four miners (called “sourdoughs”) who claimed to ascend and descend Denali all in one day. 

“Shortest Way Home” by Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a Democratic candidate for President of the U.S. in 2020, explores the resurgence of a dying city.  “D-Day Girls” by Sarah Rose documents the extraordinary women who became British spies to help pave the wave for Allied victory in World War II.  “The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates explores the importance of lifting women up in all societies with data presenting the issues we need address first for the benefit of everyone. 

Programmed Nooks

We have nine free Nooks and three free tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure.  The eight adult content e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers.  The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults.  

Downloadable e-books

Current New York Times bestseller downloadable e-books are being added regularly to our free 3M Cloud Library.  Access them by clicking on the 3M Cloud Library icon on the home page of our website.  While there, browse through a multitude of other adult, juvenile and children’s books, both bestsellers and classics in many genres.

Downloadable films

For your viewing pleasure, we offer IndieFlix, a free streaming movie service that gives you unlimited access to more than 7,500 award-winning and popular independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from more than 50 countries – on your device, PC or Mac, with no apps needed.  Access IndieFlix through the Downloadable Content icon on the library’s website.  Use “Quick Pick,” the discovery tool that lets you sample movies like you would music.

Thanks to our donors

For books and materials this week, we thank our anonymous donors. For the generous monetary donation, we thank Medora Bass.

Quotable Quote   

Being a bookworm could benefit your real world interactions, making it easier to identify people’s emotions, according to a new analysis in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.  Researchers think this is because fiction may engage the same processes that occur during real-world social interactions or provide clues about people and cultures readers might not otherwise be exposed to, says David Dodell-Feder, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.  That being said, it needs to be a book that focuses on character development – say, literary fiction – to have the promised effect.

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