Friday, July 01, 2005

Westward Ho!

Today I traveled to the northwest corner of Kansas and visited libraries that were very close to the borders of Colorado and Nebraska. This is cattle, wheat and oil country and as one elderly gentleman told me “only the roughest and the toughest live in these parts!”.

The day was sunny and beautiful and Leslie Bell and I had smooth driving all day long. First stop was the town of Quinter and the Jay Johnson Public Library. Librarian Sharon DuBois showed us the progress being made in an expansion of the library. I admire the fact that the library staff and trustees are energy conscious, and the building will be powered exclusively by solar power. The beautiful circulation desk in the second picture is made of glass and wheat board.

Grainfield has a very small city library but a librarian, Anna Whiteman, who has a big hello for every one who comes through the door. She introduced me to Donna Garret who works as a library staffer for the Wheatfield High School and the Grainfield Elementary School. By the way, little Grainfield City Library offers wi-fi internet access for its patrons!

In order to get to the reading room at the Oakley Public Library, you need to cross a draw bridge! The draw bridge is the art work of the library staff and celebrates the summer reading program, “Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds”! I met Victoria Halblieb, the assistant director and her board president, Mrs. Johnson.


Colby is the largest town in the NWKLS and has the newest library director, Jeff Friesen! Jeff has only been at the Pioneer Memorial Library for one year, but according to the trustees who met with us, he has already made his mark on the library. The library is very busy and filled with people of all ages. While I was there, Jeff and the Board of Trustees presented me with my own Pioneer Memorial Library card.

Goodland is on mountain time but my stomach was still on central time, so Leslie and I ate lunch early with library director and president of the NWKLS board of directors, Janet Warren. After lunch, we toured the library and Janet showed us a beautiful mural that had been relocated to the library when a local bank building closed.


St. Francis is only 12 miles from the Colorado border and several of the library trustees who were on hand to meet me said that Denver is much closer to them than the state capital of Kansas! Director Pat Leibbrandt showed us around the library and described the services they provide.

Darla Deeds, library director, trustee Stan Dorsch and his wife Dee welcomed us to the Bird City Public Library. The first thing that comes into view when entering the library is a beautiful quilt. Each month or so, the quilt exhibit changes and is accompanied by a story about the quilter and the pattern. Dee Dorsch has documented each of the quilts and participated in a larger project of quilt documentation for the State Historical Museum a few years back. The library is just beautiful, and Stan told us the story of how the community worked together to build their little library with funding from donations and grants.
Carol Smith is the director of the Oberlin City Library and gave us a tour of the library. We ended our day in Oberlin and headed back east.
Thanks so much to all the library staff and trustees who took time to meet me and show me around, and to Leslie Bell and her staff for my first look at libraries in the great northwest!!

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