The Park County Public Libraries History

In 1966 a Board of Directors was chosen and development of the Park County Public Libraries began. Books were borrowed from home libraries and purchased with the help of the Women’s Club. During the first year, volunteers donated 180 days of service to the new Park County Public Library.

History of the Bailey Library: Beginning in 1967, Mason’s Grocery Store in Bailey, donated a small room where books could be checked out. In 1970, having outgrown that space, Mr. George New donated space in Rustic Square. Mr. Gordon Bennett, retired “State Librarian”, was hired as librarian in 1972 and again, the library expanded occupying half (744 sq. ft.) of the building in Bailey. In 1987 the new library was build on Crow Hill on the lower level (3,200 sq. ft.) of the new county offices. With continued growth the library again needed to expand, and in 1999 the next phase began. The county offices moved out of the building, which made the upper level (2,950 sq. ft.) available to the library.

The Bookmobile: In 1966 a bookmobile was borrowed and was then purchased in 1970 for $125. The bookmobile continued service in Park County as the only library outside of Bailey until 1980 when the old courthouse in Fairplay was remodeled. In 1980, Park County Public Libraries acquired a new bookmobile and parked the old one close to the Lake George Elementary School.

History of the Fairplay Library: In 1986 the Park County District Court was moved from the old 1874 courthouse to a new building. The second floor of the old courthouse was then converted to a library, with various offices on the lower floor and meeting space on the top floor, formerly the District Court.

History of the Lake George Library: The Lake George community liked having a library in town and in 1981, a grant was acquired to help purchase a modular for 1/2 library and 1/2 classroom use. As the school grew, the library moved to a small room inside the school so that the modular building would just be used for classes. In 1988, work started on the existing library building in Lake George that adjoins the Lake George Charter school. It was dedicated on November 7,1988 and officially opened in February of 1989. The Lake George Charter school has since moved to a new location and the old school building purchased by a private party. The school children are now bussed to the library to check out books. The Lake George Library remains a vibrant center of the community.

History of the Guffey Library: The Guffey library was established in 1985 in a 12 x 40 sq. ft. modular building. The modular was donated to the Re-2 School District and half was used by the school and the other half by the library. Following a successful passage of the Re-2 School District bond issue and subsequent plans to remodel the school, the library’s future was up in the air. It was decided that a new library in Guffey was needed. In 1998 a new 1,064 sq. ft. building was constructed. In 2010 an addition was completed which added 600 square feet, used for additional shelving, computers and work space.

By Colorado Library Law, public libraries are required to have a Library Board of Trustees. Park County has seven members on this board with representation for each established library in the county. The board’s purpose is to work with the library director in establishing library policy, advising the library director on matters of library direction and service to the communities. The library board works with the Board of County Commissioners in making recommendations for the library budget and in personnel issues, such as employment of a library director and annual personnel reviews.

The Board of County Commissioners is directly responsible for the Park County Public Libraries and supervision of the Library Director.

Twelve part-time employees and the library director, who is a full-time employee with a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Services, staff the Libraries.

The Park County Public Library is a member of the Colorado Library Card and the Colorado Virtual Library (interlibrary loan). “Ask Colorado” is available through the Internet. The library’s on-line catalog allows patrons to renew and reserve books as well as to see what books are available in the libraries.

Universal Class – Over 500 Online continuing education courses are offered through Universal Class with your library card. Subjects include GED training, personal finance, and computer training to mention just a few. The program features remote 24/7 access via the internet with real instructors. Go to online resources and click on Universal Class to get started.

Overdrive – Overdrive and the Across Colorado Digital Consortium provide our patrons with downloadable eBooks, eAudiobooks, and more. You can download these materials to your computer, mobile device, IPod, or eBook reader. It’s easy to use and features remote 24/7 access via the internet. No late fees! Instruction on using the Overdrive interface is available at all libraries. Please contact your local branch to arrange for a class.