History of MPL

The Mancos Public Library is both literally and figuratively the heart of this little town. This heart has just experienced a transplant! We have moved into a spacious, well lit and beautiful new facility.

Now, here is some interesting history:

The Mancos Public Library was officially opened on November 9, 1946. This culminated about a year of work during which the citizens of the town gave time, money and manual labor to make the venture a success. When a camp for Conscientious Objectors at Jackson Gulch closed in 1945, the Federal Government donated the books in the library to the Town of Mancos under the sponsorship of the Civic Club. Mrs. R.E. McCluggage was appointed the first librarian and served in this capacity for a number of years, working with volunteers from the Civic Club.
Volunteers continued to staff the library until the sixties when money became available to hire a librarian through grant programs. Mrs. Lanita Fitzgerald was hired as the librarian and later assisted by Mrs. Dorothy Trevino.

Originally the collection was housed in the old town hall. In 1949 it moved to the basement of the high school when a new elementary school was built. In 1950 it moved to a separate building on the school grounds. The library provided services to the community in this building until 1963. At this time the school needed more space for classrooms so the books were put into storage. The following year the VFW provided space for a combined library and museum. In 1985 the library was housed in a storefront on Grand for about a year when it moved again to the old town hall building on Main Street. On November 9, 1989 the Mancos Friends of the Library purchased the building at 111 N. Main St. as the future home of the library. The Members were Beverly Capelin, pres. Herb Folsom, V.P. Susan Cassels, Director, Elizabeth Wheeler, Director.

During 1990 the Friends raised over $10,000 for the renovation of this building. The Board members were then Norma Price, Pres; Herb Folsom, V. Pres; Beth Wheeler, Sec.; and Jan Vaughan, Treasurer.
In March of 1991 the Library received a LSCA matching grant for $57,000. This grant was written by Linda Simmons and the project was directed by Shirlen Heath. The renovation was accomplished during the 1991-92 year under the direction of Michael Bell, architect and J&M Construction. Board members at the time were Margie Russell, Pres., Jerry Goar, V. Pres; Vicki Aspromonte, Treas.; Shirlene Heath; Gen Hendrickson; Phyllis Johnson; and Pierce Shaw. Paula Mitchell and Georgette Welage were co-directors at this time. The Library moved to this location in April of 1992. “The new library building was a dream come true for countless people, over a span of many years.”

We know we have a great library because our patrons tell us. The little eyes barely able to see over the checkout desk tell us; the elders for whom we gather reading materials; the little people learning about new things and doing art; the teen who pronounces us “cool”; the book club members for whom we order books; the mystery readers whose need requires that we keep them in order with their favorite author; the kids that we help with special projects and homework; the technology assistance and classes; the many summer residents and tourists who are visiting this area who tell us we are most assuredly the best little library they have ever known; the “library ladies” who take part in Mancos Days with their precision BookCart Drill Team each year; and the patrons that take the time to stop and tell us how important we are to them.

Once again a dream comes true as we move into the “new” library on 211 W.First Street. Join us on June 30th at 1pm. for the ribbon cutting and opening. We look forward to continuing our service to you at this new location.

Mancos Public Library (part 2)
A historical walk down memory lane:
*In October of 1992 Patsy Smith was hired as co-director with Georgette Welage.
*In April 1994 The Library began to offer open hours on Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.
* In August of 1995 the library received an LSCA grant in the amount of $18, 892 and an additional $4,673 from non-governmental sources for computer automation.
*In June of 1996 Patsy Smith became Director when Georgette Welage resigned.
*In August of 1996 the Computer automation project was completed.
In November 1996 there was a birthday party to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of the Library,
*In December 1996 the library board approved the first Long Range Plan for 1997-2002. The LRP presented the need for a mil levy increase.
*In 1998 The Library received a SCILNET (Southwest Colorado Interactive Learning Network) grant monies to further improve internet access. It provided a wireless connection to the public school’s T-1 phone line for multiple user stations and a fast connection.

*In 1999 The Friends of the Mancos Public Library paid off the note on the building. The Board of Directors began work on the mil levy election and the vote to lift TABOR restrictions. In November 1999 the mil levy increased from 1.5 to 3.5 and the TABOR restrictions were lifted.
*In September 2000 renovations of the exterior began on the building including new stucco, rock pointing, new awnings and signs for the windows. (New windows in the adult and reference rooms were installed previously)
*In October 2000 the Board adopted a resolution opposing Amendment 21. Passage would have represented a 39% loss of operational funds the first year and more than 50% the second. The state-wide measure was defeated in November.
*In 2000 The Colorado General Assemble passed the State Grants to Libraries Act which provided state funds for public, school and college libraries to obtain educational resources. The Library received $3,068 in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, due to state budget cuts the law was repealed.
* In 2003 the state of Colorado cut funding for the regional library systems. The Southwest Library System was able to operate with the existing funds through 2003.
*In 2004 Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) was formed to replace the seven regional library systems. CLiC provides library support services to Colorado’s public, school, academic and special libraries who are CLiC members. CLiC employs regionally based consultants to provide equitable service to libraries throughout Colorado’s 104,100 sq. miles and is headquartered in Englewood.
*In 2005 the Mancos Library District held a mill levy increase election to fund the construction and operations of a larger library. The issue passed by a 2/3 vote raising the mil levy from 3.5 to 6.0.
*In January of 2006 the “Empire Park” property was purchased from Empire Electric as the site for the new Library.
* Groundbreaking was officially held on May 7, 2008.
* Construction began in September, 2008.
* Move June 2009 with the patrons and families handing off books in a human chain on June 14th at 1pm.

Other Relevant Dates:
*1976 MPL introduces new Large Print Books…11 of them given to the Library by the Southwest Library System.
*Mrs. Marionetta Cooper, a fully – trained, professional librarian, was hired.
*Also in 1976 PEO Sisterhood presented the Library with a gift of $50 to purchase books. The following is recorded on October 1, 1976 as the list of books to be ordered.
*Heidi, Gloria. Winning the Age Game; everything a woman needs to know about looking, feeling and being young.
*Shura, Mary. THE SEASON OF SILENCE. A book about the thirteen year old girl who was very ill. Susie was convalescing from a long illness and confinement in her room. She was puzzled by the strange tension between her parents and her sister, her best friend’s coldness and the boy who trapped her in a silence and a lie she could not escape.
*Cleaver, Very. DUST OF THE EARTH The members of the Drawn family were forever clashing. Fourteen year old Fern had never heard the word “love” spoken by her parents or her brothers and sister.
*Cooper, Susan. THE DARK IS RISING. On the eve of his seventh birthday Will was puzzled. His animal friends were all afraid of him. Even the ravens crackled at him from the trees. The neighbor added to the strangeness b giving him an old buckle and cautioning him to tell no one about it. This book was a Newbery Honor Book, 1974.
*Cooper, Susan. THE GREY KING. Will is sent to Wales to convalesce from an illness. There he continues his adventures as an Old One in the Battle of Light against Darkness. This book won the Newbery Award for 1976.
*Specht, Robert. TISHA: THE STORY OF A YOUNG TEACHER IN THE ALASKA WILDERNESS. This is an autobiography of a woman who went to Chicken, Alaska to teach school at the age of twenty. It is an engrossing story of her experiences ranging from the tragedy of racial prejudice to the humor….
*In it’s 31st year of service, 1977 The Library Supporters plan fundraising activities for the MPL, including a contest, an aluminum can drive, an old fashioned Box Social, an art show and a guest speaker (Louis L’Amour anticipated) at the Mancos Day events during the summer. Louise Halls donated a hand made baby blanket.
*In 1977 funds of $4,800 for purchasing a collection for children under 18 years of age were awarded to the MPL (Mrs. Marionetta Cooper, Director) from the Library Services Construction Act Federal funds administered by the state of Colorado.
*Open house in the new library on 120 Grand, on October 23, 1977 with more than 60 persons involved with the cleaning, painting and actual moving of the Library. The trustees especially appreciated the efforts and contributions of the Library Supporters Association, which paid for the paying with the proceeds from its can drive.
*Members of the Board were Jean Bader, Chair, Mary Coppinger, Vice-chair, Marionetta Cooper Secretary and Mary Richards treasurer; Sheila Aspromonte and Mary Ann Ott.
*Also in 1977…The MPL Board is requesting that all overdue books be returned immediately. In accordance with the Library Act, Colorado Revised Statues, 1973, Sect. 24-90-120, the law states that “Whoever willfully retains any book, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, manuscripts or other property belonging to any public library, reading room of other educational institution, for thirty days after notice in writing to return the same, given after the expiration of the time that by the rules of such institution such article or other property may be kept, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
*December 1979 Joan Nathan was appointed to the post of Librarian at the MPL as Mrs. Marionetta Cooper resigned.
*1980 Mrs. Irene Sheek, treasurer of the Mancos Study Club, presents a check for $50 to Lela Martinez to purchase Children’s books for the MPL in memory of Mrs. Margaret Ashback, a pioneer in the Mancos area.
*1981 Melinda Spore and Joan Southcotte conduct weekly story hour at the Mancos Community Center.
*1985 Joan Southcotte was the Director.
*1989 (11-9-89) the Board of the Mancos Friends of the Library voted to acquire the building

(This history was compiled with the assistance of Jean Bader, Mary Ann Ott, Joan Nathan and various clippings, notes and letters. Great care was taken to assure accuracy but any errors are mine alone. Midge Kirk.)