Library buys field of dreams

From the September 10, 2012 edition of "The Mountain Ear" by Barbara Lawlor

The empty lot next to the Nederland Community Library may not look like much, dried grasses, thistles, the prolific yellow-flowered weeds that are everywhere this year, but this uncivilized piece of property is the field to NCL's future. It is not important what it is now, but what it will be.

Recently, the NCL Foundation purchased the lot from Doc Mauer, who had originally intended to construct a multi-purpose building, but then, because of his respect for, and love of the library, he offered the Foundation a good deal. Last week, members of the Foundation as well as the NCL District stood in the field and congratulated each other for their good fortune and visionary thinking.

While the library was being built, the lot was used as a staging area for the construction equipment. The Library Foundation and staff realized that the bordering piece of Nederland property would be an asset to the library. No other sites were available nearby.

Susan Gerhart with the Library staff suggested, "We could landscape and use this area for outdoor reading. We would not build anything right away."

The Nederland Community Library Foundation purchased the property with matching funds from the library district and from community donations. District Board President Kay Turnbaugh said, "Essentially, the Foundation donated the land to the District."

Raising funds and making donations to the district enhances the functionality of both entities. The foundation is a non-profit, tax-deductible group, and the district is supported by taxpayers. The Foundation also donates funds for the purchase of iPads, young-adult books and furniture, and they help with the programs and the annual book sale during Miners' Days.

All of this means the library has been a successful venture and will inevitably outgrow itself. It is so well used that, eventually, it will need more space to accommodate the community activities it hosts. It will also need more room for more computers and Internet stations, more children's space and a larger meeting room that already requires standing-room only events.

Before anything else is done, we will pull the weeds, said Alberta Montgomery. Maybe they'll even hire some goats. The ideas were tossed about. A gazebo?

Gerhart said, "Whatever we do with it, we have secured the land for the library's future."


For years the idea of a local library was talked about and explored by Nederland area residents who had to travel 20 miles to the nearest public library.

In October 2000, after positive feedback from a community survey and a Town Board Resolution creating a Nederland Community Library, volunteers formed a Library Board with officers and by-laws. The library opened in April 2001 in one room in the old town community center staffed by a half-time professional library director and volunteers. Shelves were stocked with donated books, and we offered Internet access. The Nederland Library Foundation was created at the same time as a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to provide access to information and library services to all residents and visitors of the Nederland mountain area, to encourage reading, to foster learning, and to promote an educated community. We receive funding through private donations, grants, used book sales, and by sponsoring local events.

The following year, residents within a five mile radius of the center of Nederland, voted to create and fund the current Nederland Community Library District through a property mill levy.

In 2003, the District Board hired a full-time library director. Volunteers continued to staff the library, and the library hours were expanded. The library programs flourished.

In 2003 a snowstorm collapsed the main roof of the community center building and the library was forced to move to another area of the community center.

In February 2006, in order to accommodate an increase in patrons and an expanding book collection, the library moved to a location in the Caribou Shopping Center. With the aim of providing a proper home for the library the Foundation purchased land a long Colorado highway 72. In 2009 a bond issue was passed by voters and the beautiful new library became a reality. Its grand opening took place on January 31, 2011.

How can I contribute to the new library?

Monetary contributions are always welcome, but if you would like to participate directly in this project, contact us at