Best back-to-school gift for your children: their own library

Do you know the value of a home library for your youngsters? Research shows that kids who have books in their home have improved vocabulary and overall reading performance; do better in math, science and social studies; perform better on standardized tests and are more likely to go to college.
Those are impressive skills for your child to cultivate — and they are especially relevant now that Archuleta County kids have returned to school after summer vacation.
Another valuable tip to help your youngster be successful in school and in life: reading aloud. You are stimulating language and literacy skills, as well as building motivation, curiosity and memory.
The free storytimes at your library also can help build a love of reading in your children. Family storytimes for kids of all ages happen on Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. and on Saturdays from 3 to 4 p.m. Storytime is a great way for kids to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.
As we start the new school year, this may be a good time for parents, grandparents and other caregivers to make a personal resolution to help build home libraries for your loved ones.
Special note
Today’s column covers activities and events at your library for youngsters, tweens, teens and adults over the next two weeks as your columnist will be traveling. The next “Library News” column will appear on Oct. 3.
Help needed for art project
We are in possession of more than 30 artworks and we do not know if they are on loan to us or have been donated permanently. They include photographs and prints, original watercolors and oil paintings, most framed. Many are signed and some are not. Further, while we recognize some of the artists’ names, we don’t know many of them at all. Some pieces may have been given to the library by someone other than the artist.
We would greatly appreciate your help in identifying the art’s source so we can ascertain the artist’s or donor’s wish regarding ownership. If you can help, please come into the library, look at our art and give us the benefit of your knowledge.
Backpacks available for free checkout
If you want to enjoy our glorious fall weather and brilliant foliage colors with a hiking outing, consider this: Thanks to a partnership between the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado State Library, we have two backpacks for free checkout that contain a state park pass, binoculars, a wildlife guide, a trees and wildlife guide, a book about the 42 state parks and more. The backpacks can be checked out for a full week and renewed for an additional week. They cannot be placed on hold. Consider it a “Lucky Day” pickup item, meaning that if you come in and it’s available, you can check it out.
Teen steampunk crafts today
Steampunk crafts takes place today, Thursday, Sept. 19, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. for sixth- through 12th-graders, when you’ll make crafts and jewelry from gears, keys and whatever else we can find.
All-ages gaming tomorrow
Join us tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 20, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. for a free all-ages gaming session where you can enjoy video gaming on Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect with your friends and family. Note there will be no gaming on Friday, Sept. 27.
Computer classes
The is a free program to learn a useful technology skill or application. Monday, Sept. 23, from 1 to 2 p.m. is Microsoft Word Intermediate. No registration is required.
Tween gaming
Free gaming for those in the fourth through eighth grades is Monday, Sept. 23, and Sept. 30, from 4 to 5 p.m. Enjoy Xbox 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.
Teen gaming
Free teen gaming happens on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. for teens in the sixth through 12th grades. Enjoy Xbox 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.
Teen role-playing
The free role-playing game for seventh- through 12th-graders takes place next Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Use your imagination to go on adventures and battle monsters. You can join this group any time.
Spanish conversation
Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 3 to 4 p.m. practice your Spanish with others to help you increase your fluency at this free informal session. All are welcome, from beginners to native Spanish speakers. Previous attendance not necessary. No registration required.
Read with a Ranger
Friday, Sept. 27, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., youngsters are invited to join Pagosa Ranger Brandon from the U.S. Forest Service to explore the world of squirrels with nature-themed books and activities. Typically kids ages 6-10 attend, but these free fun sessions are open to all ages.
Literary Ladies book club
This free book-lovers’ group meets on the fourth Friday of every month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, they will discuss “Natural Causes” by Barbara Ehrenreich. For more information, contact Marilyn Stroud at
Kids ages 6-12 are invited to bring your imaginations — LEGOs are provided — on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to noon for the free LEGO Club.
ESL classes
Free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes take place twice weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. with two highly experienced teachers. Joyce Holdread is teaching the intermediate/advanced group and Ellynn Ragone is teaching beginners. No registration is required.
Su biblioteca está ofreciendo ahora clases de inglés como segundo idioma (ESL). Las clases se llevan a cabo los miércoles y viernes desde el mediodia hasta las 2 pm. Todas las clases son gratuitas y no es necesario registrarse. Por favor ayúdanos a correr la voz sobre el regreso de las clases de íngles como segundo idioma en nuestra comunidad de Pagosa.
Adult education new hours
Now that school has started, our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) has new hours. It now takes place on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. Come to your library to get help from Mark with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more. Note there will be no PALS Sept. 19 and 23.
Family storytimes
Every Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. and Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m., join us for great stories, fun songs, toddler-friendly crafts and plenty of reasons to get up and move.
Both storytimes are open to babies, toddlers and youngsters of all ages to make it easier for parents to attend with their children depending on their busy schedules rather than the age of their little ones. These free sessions are an excellent way for kids to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.
Activities calendars
To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your families at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month. There are three versions — kids, tweens/teens and adults. We look forward to seeing you at your library. Se habla espanol.
“Rocketman” celebrates the life and music of Elton John. “New Amsterdam” is the first season.
Books on CD
“Retire Securely” by financial columnist Julie Jason offers insights on money management. “What Does It Feel Like to Die?” by Jennie Dear is a compassionate look at the dying process.
“Fantasy Island” by Ed Morales is an exploration of the history of Puerto Rico and the U.S.’s financial and political interests in the island since its acquisition in 1898. We have two books by Elizabeth Zimmermann: “Knitting Without Tears” offers basic techniques and easy-to-follow directions for garments to fit all sizes, and the commemorative edition of “Knitter’s Almanac” contains 23 patterns. “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell takes readers through history, psychology and scandals showing how to make sense of people we don’t know. “Country Music” by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns is an illustrated history of country singers and songwriters from the 20th century, a companion to the eight-part PBS series that began Sept. 15.
Mysteries, suspense and thrillers
“Killer Instinct” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan explores the worst act of terror in New York since 9/11. “Akin” by Emma Donoghue follows a man and his great-nephew returning to France to investigate photos from the Nazi years.
Other novels
“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood is the sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “A Time of Love and Tartan” by Alexander McCall Smith is the story of people at 44 Scotland Street story.
Programmed Nooks
We have nine free Nooks and three free tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure. The eight adult e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers. The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults.
Downloadable e-books
Current New York Times bestseller downloadable e-books are being added regularly to our free 3M Cloud Library. Access them by clicking on the 3M Cloud Library icon on the home page of our website. While there, browse through a multitude of other adult, juvenile and children’s books, both bestsellers and classics in many genres.
Downloadable films
For your viewing pleasure, we offer IndieFlix, a free streaming movie service that gives you unlimited access to more than 7,500 award-winning and popular independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from more than 50 countries — on your device, PC or Mac, with no apps needed.
Access IndieFlix through the Downloadable Content icon on the library’s website. Use “Quick Pick,” the discovery tool that lets you sample movies like you would music.
Thanks to our donors
For books and materials this week, we thank Medora Bass and our anonymous donors. For the generous monetary donation, we are grateful to Jerry Pingel.
Quotable quote
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” — Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer.
For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

This story was posted on September 19, 2019.