Library reopens

The Wilkinson Public Library, which closed to the public in mid-March due to the pandemic, will reopen the building on an appointment basis beginning Monday. (Bria Light/Telluride Daily Planet)

Came to ski, stayed for the library. So reads the bumper sticker ode to the beloved Wilkinson Public Library. The year 2020’s edition of the popular decal might add some fine print: Stayed when the library closed in March, rejoiced when the library reopened its doors in August.

Beginning Monday, the library will reopen the building for patrons and visitors on an appointment basis to peruse the stacks, access the public computers and use the business center for printing, copying and faxing. Patrons can sign up for 45-minute time slots, with appointments available at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday as well as 2 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Though meeting rooms will remain closed, the second floor terrace will be available for 45-minute reservations, and the first floor patio will be available by appointment for up to two hours for meetings.

“We will also be offering passport, fingerprinting, and notary services, which you can sign up for through the ‘services’ tab on our website,” said Jill Wilson, the library’s public services manager, noting that patrons “are limited to one visit per day, and must be wearing a mask to enter.”

“Walk-ins will be allowed, but only if there is space available during that appointment time,” she said, adding that the popular curbside pick-up service for books, printing and other items will remain in place for those who prefer not to enter the building.

Beyond the much-anticipated reopening, which has been carefully designed in a phased approach to maintain safe social distancing practices, the library will continue to offer events for patrons of all ages. Over the next month, the “Love Your Backyard” series will take participants on small group excursions with local experts to explore topics such as plant identification, bird watching, local hydrology, seed saving, and fungi.

“It's been an outgrowth of our desire to promote local area recreation and education, especially programs that can be enjoyed in the safest possible way — outside!” said Joanna Spindler, a programs specialist. “We realized that, while choosing programming that allows for social distancing guidelines, it's the perfect time to celebrate our natural environment and capitalize on some brilliant local minds who will be leading hikes, teaching about foraging, and much more. We hope that these programs give folks a new way to celebrate and enjoy our local area.”

“Taking the time to learn some of the names of and the fascinating facts about the flora and fauna of the place where you live is like having acquaintances become your besties,” added Laura Colbert, also a programs specialist. “Your relationship is deeper and stronger and they add dimension to your strolls. You will suddenly see and hear so much more.”

The grown-ups don’t get to have all the fun, however, as younger patrons can look forward to the library’s collaboration with Telluride Theatre for the upcoming Books Alive production of “Chrysanthemum,” a classic children’s book by Kevin Henkes.

“This wonderful local collaboration between the Telluride Theatre and the library has existed for several years,” explained Jeannie Stewart, youth programs specialist. “It’s a creative adaptation of books coming ‘alive’ through the production of theater plays all performed by local actors and performed for local preschools and elementary students in grades K-2.”

While Stewart noted that the play is best suited for children between three and eight, younger and older children are also “more than welcome.” The production will take place at the Transfer Warehouse from August 4-6 at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Although free, reservations are required due to limited space, as are masks and adherence to social distancing guidelines.

Despite the months of the building’s closure, the staff of the Wilkinson Public Library continue to do what they do best: finding ways to serve the community. “Surprise grab bags” are the latest offering for both kids and adults, with the library’s well-read staff assembling a custom assortment of books tailored to the patron’s specific tastes and interests.

“We are doing our best to offer our patrons as many services as possible, while making sure we're keeping our staff and community safe,” said Wilson. “We look forward to the day when people can come in and hang out, and children can play with the toys and each other again because that is what we miss most during these strange times ... our community. But in the meantime, we can make sure that you get that document printed and scanned, or the right books in your hand, and we can dream of better days to come. Thank you for your patience and understanding, Telluride!”