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 are returning to school this week 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. Ever try to skip a page in your child’s favorite book? You’ll be caught every time.
The free storytimes at your library also can help build a love of reading in your children. In September, we will have family storytimes for kids of all ages on Saturdays from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and open play for ages 5 and under on Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m.
Storytime is a great way for kids to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers. Open play offers plenty of fun toys, puppets, puzzles and more for toddlers to socialize, pretend, play and pick up a few books while you’re here.
As we start the new school year, this may be a good time for parents, grandparents and other relatives to make a personal resolution to help build home libraries for your loved ones.
Backpacks available for free checkout
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.
Help around town for heart emergencies —
including at your library
You’ve probably heard of an automated external defibrillator (AED), a portable electronic device that automatically checks the heart rhythms and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to return it to normal.
Immediate action is crucial when someone’s heart stops beating, so we wanted to remind you that an AED is available at your library and in more than 20 other locations around town. They include the public schools, Ross Aragon Community Center, county sheriff patrol cars, fire stations 3 and 7, St. Patrick’s and Centerpoint churches, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, Pagosa Lake Property Owners Association rec center, Chimney Rock and more.
All you have to do is turn on the AED and follow the prompts. The AED will talk to you, giving step-by-step instructions and guidance as you work on a patient. But if you want to take a class to build your confidence and be trained for emergencies, please contact Nicole Mariani LaGioia at the Pagosa Springs Medical Center EMS at 731-5811 or
All-ages gaming
Join us Friday, Sept. 7, from 2 to 3:15 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.
Kids ages 6-12 are invited to bring your imaginations — LEGOs are provided — this Saturday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to noon for the free LEGO Club.
Tween gaming
Free gaming for those in the fourth through eighth grades is next Monday, Sept. 10, 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 seventh through 12th grades. Enjoy Xbox 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.
Book club for adults
Our free book club for adults meets the second Tuesday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m. to discuss alternating fiction and nonfiction titles and enjoy refreshments. On Sept. 11 we will discuss “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders. If you need a copy, please stop by your library. No registration is required.
Computer class
Join us on alternating Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. for free sessions to learn a useful technology skill or application. Sept. 10 is basic photo editing. Sept. 20 is Intermediate Microsoft Word. Sept. 24 is YouTube basics. No registration is required.
Adult education hours expand
Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) has expanded to its regular winter schedule — Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., plus Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 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.
Free tech sessions
Drop in with your technology questions on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m.
Family storytimes and open play
In September, we will have family storytimes for kids of all ages on Saturdays from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and open play for ages 5 and under on Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m.
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.
GED preparation
in Spanish
“Preparacion para el Examen de GED” is a new version of McGraw-Hill education’s classic guide.
“Human Planet” is the original BBC version with three hours of scenes not broadcast in North America. “Deadpool 2” is the R-rated sequel to the first film. “The Horse Boy” features a Texas couple and their autistic son. “Poverty, Politics and Profit” is a Frontline and NPR investigative documentary.
“Desolation Mountain” by William Kent Krueger begins with the crash of a plane carrying a senator and her family. “Hangman” by Daniel Cole is a Det. Chief Inspector Emily Baxter mystery. “Feared” by Lisa Scottoline is a Rosato and DiNunzio mystery. “Animal Dream” by Barbara Kingsolver is a suspenseful love story that features Native American legends. “Hawke’s War” by Reavis Z. Wortham is a Sonny Hawke thriller.
“Gross Anatomy” by Mara Altman is a collection of essays that celebrate the female body. “Resistance is Futile!” by Ann Coulter is the conservative commentator’s look at how liberals are fighting against President Trump. “America: The Farewell Tour” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges argues that neither political party is addressing our country’s systemic problems. “The Dictionary of Body Language” by retired FBI agent Joe Navarro explains more than 400 behaviors that will allow you to gauge anyone’s true intentions. “Creativity Takes Courage” by Irene Smit and Astrid Van Der Hulst provides hands-on projects, special paper goodies and more to spark your creativity. “Autonomy” by Lawrence D. Burns explores the quest to build the driverless car and how it will reshape our world. “Elizabeth Warren” by Antonia Felix is a biography of a woman many speculate will run for president in 2020.
Thrillers, mysteries and suspense
“Dead Man Running” by Steve Hamilton is an Alex McKnight adventure. “The Other Woman” by Sandie Jones is a psychological thriller. “Desolation Mountain” by William Kent Krueger begins with the crash of a plane carrying a senator and her family. “Safe and Sound” by Fern Michaels is a Sisterhood mystery. “Walking Shadows” by Faye Kellerman is a Decker/Lazarus mystery.
Other novels
“Straight to the Noose” is a Ralph Compton adventure by Marcus Galloway. “Ten Guns from Texas” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is a Duff MacCallister western.
Large print
“A Reckoning” by Linda Spalding is set in 1855 Virginia when an abolitionist arrives. “Give-A-Damn Jones” by Bill Pronzini is a western. “Jericho’s Road and Hard Trail to Follow” by Elmer Kelton contains two novels in the Texas Ranger series.
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 Marilyn Falvey, Robert Righi and our many anonymous donors.
Quotable quote
“My father, who couldn’t read or write, was my inspiration. He was from a big country family, and most kids worked in the fields rather than going to school. He felt inadequate, but he was such a smart, good human being.” — Dolly Parton, entertainer, songwriter and actress, on why she founded and funded the nonprofit Imagination Library to donate free books to children.
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 7, 2018.