Library’s Important Community Role

07/28/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (200 resident, 18 non-resident), Archuleta (36 resident, 31 non-resident), Montezuma (109), Dolores (1), San Juan (2). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (2), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (2), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 47,968 cases, 6,487 hospitalized, 1,844 deaths among cases, 1,710 deaths due to COVID-19, 548,808 tested, 483 outbreaks, colorado.gov

The new director of the Cortez Library says that libraries aren’t dying, they still play a vital role in the health of a community, and she wants the Cortez library to help the region thrive.

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IF YOU THINK LIBRARIES ARE DYING INSTITUTIONS, THE NEW DIRECTOR OF THE CORTEZ PUBLIC LIBRARY SAYS THINK AGAIN. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIG-O TIRES OF CORTEZ. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. ALICIA GOMORI-LUSKER WAS WORKING AS LIBRARY MANAGER FOR THE PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT IN COLORADO SPRINGS, WHEN SHE DECIDED TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP UP IN HER CAREER. AND CORTEZ JUST HAPPENED TO BE ON HER RADAR. GOMORI-LUSKER JOINED THE CORTEZ PUBLIC LIBRARY AS ITS DIRECTOR ON JUNE 29TH, AND SHE SAYS THAT LIBRARIES STILL PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE LIVES OF THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE. HERE'S WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY . . .
I WAS ATTRACTED TO LIBRARIES FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE. I ALWAYS ENJOYED GOING TO THE LIBRARY AS A KIDDO. MY FIRST LIBRARY JOB WAS WHEN I WAS 18. AND I WORKED IN A PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND I JUST ALWAYS LOVED HELPING PATRONS. I JUST LOVED THE RESOURCES THAT WE OFFERED. I LOVED OUR MISSION STATEMENT AND JUST WHAT WE WERE DOING FOR COMMUNITIES. I THINK LIBRARIES ARE REALLY IMPORTANT COMMUNITY BUILDERS. I THINK THEY'RE A HUB WHERE PEOPLE CAN GO. EVERYBODY IS TREATED THE SAME.  IT'S A GREAT PLACE TO FIND INFORMATION AND RESOURCES. FOR FOLKS THAT MAYBE CAN'T AFFORD INTERNET WE'RE A WONDERFUL PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO COME AND GET THINGS DONE IN OUR WORLD THAT IS SO STEEPED IN TECHNOLOGY. LIBRARIES ARE STILL REALLY THRIVING. AND, HISTORICALLY IN CORTEZ, THE LIBRARY BUILDING IS THE MOST-USED BUILDING WITHIN THE CITY.

PEOPLE USE OUR SPACE FOR ALL KINDS OF REASONS. WE OFFER A COMMUNITY MEETING ROOM FOR NO CHARGE. SO, YOU KNOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT ARE MAYBE TRYING TO DO A BUSINESS STARTUP OR MAYBE PEOPLE THAT ARE, HAVE A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION. THEY DON'T HAVE THEIR OWN DEDICATED SPACE. WE SERVE THE COMMUNITY IN THAT WAY. WE SERVE THE COMMUNITY BY FINDING RESOURCES, WE HAVE,HAVE INTERLIBRARY LOAN. IF WE DON'T HAVE AN ITEM, WE WILL GO OUTSIDE OF OUR DISTRICT TO FIND THAT INFORMATION FOR YOU. WE HAVE COMPUTERS, OUR COMPUTERS HERE ARE VERY, VERY BUSY. NOT EVERYBODY CAN AFFORD INTERNET. YOU KNOW, IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE AVAILABILITY FOR FOLKS TO COME IN AND TO USE OUR COMPUTERS, TO BE ABLE TO JUST GET EVERYDAY BUSINESS DONE THAT A LOT OF US TAKE FOR GRANTED. AND THEN WE ALSO HAVE GREAT PROGRAMMING.

YOU KNOW, IT'S A GREAT WAY TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. WE DO ADULT PROGRAMMING, YOUNG ADULT PROGRAMMING, CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING. IT'S JUST A REALLY WONDERFUL WAY TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. I THINK PEOPLE LOVE LIBRARIES. I JUST WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD REALLY SEEK OUT ALL THE RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE TO OFFER. LIBRARIES ARE DIFFERENT, FOR, FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, BUT WE DO, WHAT WE DO IS VITAL. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT WHAT WE DO IS VITAL FOR THE COMMUNITY. WHEN PEOPLE COME IN, THEY'RE LOOKING TO US TO BE ABLE TO HELP NAVIGATE ALL THE INFORMATION THAT'S OUT THERE. THEY'RE LOOKING TO US TO HELP PINPOINT EXACTLY WHAT THEY NEED. EVEN READER'S ADVISORY IS VERY IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW, FOLKS, SOMETIMES THEY'LL COME IN AND THEY'RE NOT SURE WHAT THEY WANT TO READ. YOU KNOW, WE LOVE DOING THAT WITH PATRONS, READER'S ADVISORY, YOU KNOW, GETTING TO, YOU KNOW, WHAT DO YOU LOVE?

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT READING? WHAT GENRES DO YOU LIKE? YOU KNOW, WE JUST, LIKE I SAID, WE SERVE SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT ANY REASON SOMEBODY COMES HERE TO USE OUR SPACE, IT'S IMPORTANT TO THEM. SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO US, EVERYBODY THAT WORKS HERE IS AMAZING. EVERYBODY HAS A LOT OF LIBRARY EXPERIENCE. A LOT OF FOLKS HAVE LIVED IN CORTEZ FOR A LONG TIME. AND THEY KNOW THE COMMUNITY REALLY WELL, SO I'M GOING TO TAKE THEIR LEAD. AND I THINK THAT IS THE OTHER GREAT THING ABOUT LIBRARIES AND MAKES EACH LIBRARY UNIQUE. EVERY COMMUNITY IS DIFFERENT. EVERY COMMUNITY HAS DIFFERENT NEEDS. SO REALLY ONCE, HOPEFULLY WHEN, YOU KNOW, WE'RE OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC, AND WE'RE SORT OF GETTING BACK TO A NEW REGULAR, I REALLY WANT TO JUST MEET WITH OTHER NON-PROFITS AND WITH PATRONS THAT COME IN AND JUST REALLY GET A SENSE OF WHAT DO PEOPLE IN CORTEZ WANT? WHAT DO THEY WANT OUT OF THEIR LIBRARY? BECAUSE I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO KEEP OURSELVES INFORMED WITH WHAT OUR COMMUNITY WANTS AND WHAT OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS. SO YEAH, SO WE'VE GOT A LOT OF GREAT IDEAS. STAFF HAS A LOT OF GREAT IDEAS, SO WE'LL JUST HAVE TO SEE HOW IT ALL, HOW WE'RE ABLE TO IMPLEMENT THINGS. ONCE WE GET BACK TO KIND OF A NEW REGULAR.GOMORI-LUSKER SAYS THE LIBRARY CONTINUES TO OFFER CURBSIDE PICK-UP AND DROP OFF AND OFFERS PROGRAMMING ONLINE AND OVER ZOOM. WHEN SHE'S NOT WORKING, SHE ENJOYS SHOWSHOEING IN THE WINTER AND HIKING IN THE SUMMER AND THE QUIETER LIFESTYLE THAT CORTEZ OFFERS. iF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR GOMORI-LUSKER OR WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT HER, E-MAIL HER AT LIBRARY DOT DIRECTOR AT CITY OF CORTEZ DOT COM. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE FOR THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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