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Library district has many programs, offerings in the works

It is an exciting time for the Southwest La Plata Library District. We have so many wonderful programs and offerings in the works, and I am delighted to share some of them with you.

Our Sunnyside branch has now joined the Fort Lewis Mesa branch in the AspenCat library catalog system. How does this benefit you, our patrons? AspenCat is a union catalog, which means that there is one large database shared by all member libraries. Union catalogs have several advantages. A typical AspenCat library has 15,000 to 20,000 items in its collections. Through AspenCat, you have access to more than 1.4 million items, and the collection is growing!

Once you have a Southwest La Plata Library District library card, you can access this collection by visiting our website, swlplibrarydistrict.org, browsing the catalog and placing a hold, or if you prefer in-person service, one of our library managers will be happy to walk you through the process. After placing a hold, you will receive an email notification when your book, DVD or audio book has arrived at your local library, ready to be checked out.

Just in time for summer and recognizing that libraries are about more than books, we are trying something new at the Sunnyside branch: Get Out and Play! Thanks to a generous discount from Kroegers Ace Hardware, we have purchased a variety of outdoor games and balls, including croquet, wiffle ball, lasso golf, Frisbee, football and Scoop Toss. Individuals and families are invited to stop by the library, check out a game and rediscover the joy of play on the school playground.

For our youngest book lovers, Summer Reading Program is just around the corner. We will offer a full slate of activities every Wednesday morning at both branches beginning June 16. This year’s theme is Tails and Tales, and we will explore the wonderful world of animals. Participants will have a front row seat to the special events we have planned, including a visit from Raptors Wild, balloon animals with Ruby Balloon, Native American drumming and storytelling, and wildlife identification. To register, simply call or email Chris at Fort Lewis Mesa, or Tricia at Sunnyside. As always, registration is also available in person at either branch. Parents and caregivers are welcome to attend also or browse the library collection while waiting.

Finally, we are pleased to share that the Southwest La Plata Library District has been awarded a Libraries Transforming Communities grant from the American Library Association. We will use grant money to purchase copies of the book, “The One and Only Ivan,” for every family in the schools we serve. The goal of our project is to bring families together through reading. In partnership with Sunnyside and Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary Schools, we will have family activities based on the book, parent nights focused on helping parents engage with their school-aged children through reading aloud, and celebrations of Ivan, the captive gorilla.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve our rural communities! To learn more about our library district and the services we offer, please visit our website swlplibrarydistrict.org

Patricia Johnson is interim director of Southwest La Plata Library District.