The Lone Cone Library has taken the last month to reflect on what’s worked and what could have been better in 2020. Director Carrie Andrew said many of the library’s goals were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including expanding programming. With new grants it recently received, Andrew said the library intends to support its patrons even better in 2021.

The facility just received a $3,000 Libraries Transform award for the purpose of gathering community in a program. Just one of three libraries in Colorado, and 200 in the nation, to get the monies, Andrew said the funds will go toward staff time, food, PPE, materials, training and more to focus on addressing topics relevant in today’s culture.

The theme of the upcoming program is “Bridging and Bonding.” Andrew said the goal is to get people involved. Already a number of local organizations have struggled to get volunteers or board members. She said the school’s PTA and the Wide Sky Arts Collective faced merging with other organizations, or folding altogether, since there was nobody to run them.

Now, the library wants to help facilitate attracting volunteers, especially in a time where isolation has complicated efforts.

Additionally, the library received a Just For Kids Foundation grant, in the amount of approximately $3,600, that will be for bilingual programming. The library will now provide bilingual story time, along with quarterly bilingual family nights.

“We are offering the Spanish component to reach the portion of our community that hasn’t always felt invited or welcome,” she said.

Another grant from the Telluride Foundation for $3,000 will support a separate community program focusing on discussion. Called the “Conversation Café,” Andrew said the framework supports all attendees getting a chance to be heard and responding.

In addition to food, materials and more, the funds will be used to purchase the updated version of Zoom, which makes the meetings available for online attendees, or when meetings need to be completely remote.

Finally, a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, through the Telluride Foundation, will support food security, allowing the library to continue its free lunch program for the next two years.

And, rather than waiting a few years to begin Phase 2 of the library, Andrew said the board is ready to charge ahead this year with completing the design concept for the exterior and landscape. She added that weeds have been problematic and made worse by drought.

Beginning next month, with the support of the Department of Local Affairs, some graduate students will help flush out a conceptual design of the library’s grounds. According to her, there are many options for the 3.6-acre plot, but the plans must be intentional and sustainable. She said the build must also include future possibilities.

She said future grants would pay for the different features, made possible by partnerships, which will help to leverage funds. The library will not seek to raise the mill levy in the future. 

In other library news, the board needs one additional member to have a complete board of five. Anyone interested should reach out to Andrew or the existing board. She said it was an interesting time to be a part of the organization.

As the library was recently approved a VISTA host site, it will also hire a VISTA volunteer to work this summer in partnership with the Dark Sky Group.

Andrew said she wants the community to know the library is open for patrons. Though masks are required, she said there is plenty of room for physical distancing, and the staff hasn’t had to limit anyone from entering because of crowding.