Nestled in the mountains west of Boulder, rural Nederland, CO might seem plucked out of a J.M. Barrie story and never never more so than last weekend when we visited for Frozen Dead Guy Days.
But actually, this town is firmly grounded in reality and has its priorities straight. They wisely chose to create a library district (see 2nd paragraph & link there for merits of districts) in 2002. So, after being in several locations over the past decade, they passed a bond issue in 2009 and within nine months (!) the new Nederland Community Library was built. The 1/31 grand opening was attended by 700 people and Dave Mason, the Colorado Poet Laureate, spoke at the event.
Still conveniently located in the downtown area, the library now has a lovely reading deck. With a pedestrian bridge over North Beaver Creek, vaulted ceilings, locally mined stone facades and a great southern exposure, Oz Architecture’s design suits the area well.
And, it’s a very green building. Inside noise dampening acoustical ceiling panels as well as shelving endpanels show how pretty local beetle-kill pine laminates can be (and make the best of a big CO problem). Rubber flooring in the lobby with a content of 60% recycled wine corks 🙂 absorbs mud and water to keep the library floor clean. Carpet tiles lengthen rug life, all plumbing fixtures are low-flow, fluorescent lighting is high-efficiency, and the structure is 90% recycled steel. The airlock and windows are designed to trap heat and save energy and with insulation, a swamp cooler and the deck’s sunshade, make the building so tight that there is no need for air conditioning.
Radiant floor heating and this gorgeous two-sided fireplace (built by local KMB Stone Masonry with stone (donated by Tom Hendricks) that was excavated in the 1800’s at nearby Caribou Mine) make the place cozy.
And adjacent to the fireplace is this beautiful and unique stained glass interior window designed by Naomi Edelberg Janches, a local artist.
On the other side of the fireplace is a meeting/storytime room (with a mini kitchen). Pocket doors allow it to be shut off so noise isn’t an issue.
And these lovely literary gates created by Emmit Hoyl, another local artist, mean the meeting room can be used even when the library is closed.
The tables for the ten public adult computers ensure privacy and wi-fi is available throughout. The children’s area also has two computers sitting on adorable but sturdy wood furniture and the matching picture book bins are on wheels to allow for flexibility.
They got rid of their cassettes when they moved, but have books on CD. Since they were below a video store at their previous location, they don’t carry DVDs, but video downloads are available from their Plinkit website via Overdrive (shameless plug, but I used to be the project coordinator for this small library website software collaborative).
It’s amazing how many features are included in this sleek new building. They even have a history display 😉
And outside pavers let the town express their thanks to those who’ve helped make the new library possible. Having a large volunteer workforce to supplement paid staff is another big reason that this smaller library can provide such extensive hours and services.
Thanks so much to Library Director Gretchen Beatty who showed me around (and please note any errors are mine not hers).