Naturita Community Library
One of the best things about being a facilitator for StoryCorps is that one can find themselves in some pretty far-flung places. Naturita Colorado is one such place that is remote, tranquil, and bucolic. It is a small town, population 600 surrounded by canyons, fertile valleys, desert like prairies, and snow-capped mountains. It is a two hours from the nearest airport with no stop lights for 150 miles. The town’s hub is not the local diner or the post office as one might think. It is the local library.
StoryCorps recently paid a visit to the Naturita Community Library. It is one of this year’s Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Medal winners. Susan Rice, the library’s manager, gave us a quick tour of the geothermal building made of straw bale which gives the building the ability to breath, and perhaps speak too. The library services, facility, and staff felt organically woven into the fabric of the community. The library did a little bit of everything. It was part coffee shop, town hall, video/dvd store, computer lab, and of course a place where one could find a good book.
Don Colcord, proprietor of the local Apothecary Shoppe in the nearby town of Nucla, take on the roles in the library’s Murder Mystery Theater. Being the only pharmacist/local medical confidant has its demands however on this day, Don wanted to talk about the perks of doing community theater with fellow thespian, Danell Carter. Don wondered why more local men don’t volunteer to be in the plays quipping,”I get to kiss a couple girls and flirt with audience members”. As much fun as Don has performing, he’s aware of the impact that the library’s plays have on his community. “I’m never too busy for the plays. There are so many people in a small town like this for a night out. They can laugh. Not too many people laugh in small town America anymore.”
What makes Naturita Community Library special is it’s inclusiveness, broad sense of community and dedication to making this small town a better place to live.