This letter is in response to an article published several weeks ago titled, “Library District explains revenue losses, next steps”. In that article it was stated that there were, “…8,902 visits to the Hot Sulphur Library, while 10 miles away at the Granby library there were 58,391.” I think you can spin these statistics in such a way to make the Hot Sulphur Springs Library (HSSL) look like it is underutilized and thus not worthy of staying open. And, yes, perhaps subtly pointing out that those Hot Sulphur Springs residents are just too lazy to drive to Granby to use that library.

I beg to offer a difference of opinion. Nowhere in this article does it mention the hours and days that the HSSL is open, which is just 3 days and 17 hours a week to the public. Our beloved and dedicated librarians take two half hour lunch breaks on Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Granby’s library is open 6 days and 35 hours a week, double the amount of the HSSL, with no closures for lunch. HSSL is open on Monday’s from 10am to 2pm. So where are public school aged children at least nine months out of the year on Monday’s? They are in school. Where are their supportive and hard working parents?

They are most likely working at the one or two jobs it takes to support their families in Grand County. The HSSL has only one day that it is open in the evening. The Granby Library has four days, thus allowing working patrons and their children to visit them more frequently. Has the HSSL been set up to fail? If the Colorado State Library Standards require a minimum of 20 hours per week in each branch, then when has the HSSL met that requirement? After the mil levy failed to pass in 2013, the HSSL was reduced to being open two days a week. We were not open 10 hours each of those days. So why is there now the convenient concern about the Colorado State Library Standards?

The town of Hot Sulphur Springs does not have a ski area, a great recreation center, a beautiful natural lake, we are not next to a National Park, nor do we have a multitude of second home owners with deep pockets and commendable generous hearts. But we do have very “passionate” supporters of our small library, which costs the Grand County Library District (GCLD) a pittance each year in rent, $1.00. Now compare that cost to the $315,000 the GCLD must pay each year for the building loans on the Granby and Grand Lake/Juniper Libraries ALONE. No, the HSSL building will not win an architectural design award, but it does mean the world to us in our small, rural community.

We are the very socio-economic population that needs convenient access to information! Make cuts to the GCLD budget equitable and at all the libraries and the central services/ administration building! The loss of libraries is simply another surefire way to entrench inequality.

– Mary O’Hara. Respectfully submitted by Shawn Davis.

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