One library patron's perspective on programs
By Tracy Ihnot
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:54 am
Photo submitted Sisters Whittier and Anja Ullmann enjoy a good story in the children's area of the Hotchkiss Library.
The value of our local public libraries can be seen countywide with satisfied users young and old. From the toddler attending weekly storytimes to the residents of a senior care center having books delivered to their doors, Delta County Libraries reaches so many people in so many different ways. In 2016 alone, there were 250,597 visits to the five libraries in Delta County. Program attendance reached 20,149 and there were 39,731 log-ins to the public internet computers offered throughout the district.
These usage numbers are very telling of a healthy library district and a community that benefits from its services. The impact of those benefits can be better understood when you take a closer look at the individuals who use the libraries and hear their unique stories.
Shannon Ullmann is the mother of two young girls and is a fairly new resident to Delta County. The Ullmann family typically takes advantage of the library programs that are geared toward children, like weekly storytimes throughout the county, the summer reading program and various after-school programs.
"I have been impressed with the way staff interact with kids. They do so in a guiding, open and engaging way," Ullmann says. "I like the opportunity to interact with other parent-child sets as a way to create community and even provide support to one another from time to time. I also like that it safely introduces my 3-year-old daughter to diversity among her peers as she interacts with kiddos of different ethnicities, genders, development stages, personalities, values and backgrounds."
Ullmann has seen many ways in which the libraries have benefited her two children, Anja and Whittier. The three of them work together to check out books and audio books that are new and exciting on a weekly basis. "It keeps story time at home from being repetitive," Ullmann states. "But even better, it introduces them to the world in a way that they otherwise wouldn't see in our small western Colorado community."
"For example, my 6-year-old daughter loves dance. So we recently have been reading a children's book called "Firebird" by the trail-blazing dancer, Misty Copeland. We used the book to learn about who Misty was and how she is unique. We watched her dance and listened to interviews with her. That is a learning experience that was catalyzed solely through our interaction with our library. And it has introduced a worldly culture to my girls that is very rich and deep."
Similarly, when Ullmann's youngest daughter was learning about space, they used the library to find books about astronauts, planets, the sun, the moon and even the international space station. They have learned about penguins, world history and geography, Leonardo da Vinci, and so much more through library resources. "Again, the library is the only reason we have had free access to this treasure-trove of childhood learning," Ullmann says.
Ullmann's stories are plentiful and begin to show how each Delta County Library patron has his or her own library story of discovery, engagement, connection, and more. Any local resident who has yet to begin a chapter with Delta County Libraries is encouraged to visit one of the five libraries or their website at www.deltalibraries.org.