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Poetry on a Platter 2004

April 26, 2004

Do not fail to note that this evening is the last “Poetry on a Platter 2004” event in Salida. The festival moves on to Gunnison and Montrose next.

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Bongo Billy’s Salida Cafe, Colorado poets Kathryn Winograd and Chris Ransick will read their poetry.

Chance brought us a certain symmetry this year. The format for Poetry on a Platter has been to bring two nationally known poets and two regional poets to Central Colorado.

This year, we are blessed with two Colorado poets, Kathryn and Chris, who happen to share last year’s Colorado Book Award for Poetry.

Nationally known poets Demetria Martinez and Danny Solis are both from Albuquerque, giving the festival an appealing but accidental harmony. If you missed them Saturday, you can still catch them in Gunnison or Montrose.

Do not fail to note that this coming Saturday will be the library’s Spring Book Sale. My apologies for the short notice, but I have lost a week somewhere. There’s still time to clean out your bookshelves to make room for new summer reading.

The book sale will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. The same old prices will apply: $1.00 for hardbacks, 25 cents for paperbacks. Various non-print formats are usually available: videotapes, audiotapes, LPs. We’ll slash prices by 2:00 in the afternoon, so plan on making two trips.

Meanwhile, we happily accept donations throughout the year. If you don’t weed your bookshelves in time for this sale, there’s always the next sale around Halloween.

I heard an interesting story last week at a meeting of West Slope librarians in Grand Junction. A librarian had moved to Florida for a time but then returned to her old job in Colorado. She drove back, and along her way, she kept a journal that she would email to her friends and colleagues as she went.

She used public libraries for internet access whenever she could, but her experiences served to remind her of something about Colorado libraries.

Although most public libraries now have some kind of internet access, it was not always available to her. The worst experience happened in Oklahoma. She had to go to four cities before getting online.

At one public library, she could not use the internet because she was not a cardholder at that library. At another, she was welcome to use it … for a small fee of $20 … but no, she could not use it for email.

I don’t think you would find this at any Colorado public library. You might still find some use restrictions, perhaps prohibiting email, chat, or games, but in general, Colorado public libraries have long provided free access.

Each state’s circumstance is different, and I’m not offering a holier-than-thou attitude about this. Colorado is a tourist state; most libraries are used to serving visitors.

But a big part of what’s special about Colorado libraries is a history of several decades of increasing cooperation among different types and sizes of library. That is reflected in such services as open internet access and the Colorado Library Card.

Thanks to all of you who called and wrote to our Colorado representatives to support state funding for several basic library sharing programs. You’ll be happy to know that the $600,000 requested for a barebones system to continue such things as courier service for interlibrary loans is now in the proposed budget.

The job of attending to our government is never done.

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