We've gotten into the rhythm of waking very early and getting on the road by 6 am. Last few days we've finished riding by 12:30, beating the heat. Today we made it to Pueblo, Colorado, by 11:30--an all-time record! We pulled into the local coffee shop on Main street and found other bicycle tourists we've met along the way: Lynn and Jen; and Joe and Roger. Fun times, relaxing with coffee, croissants, and cookies.
Next we headed to the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library, the main branch of the Pueblo County-City Library system. When we came to the library, we had no idea of the library's banner award year-- receiving both the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) and the Leslie B. Knopes Award in 2018. The building site is the same site on which four different library buildings have stood. The current building was finished in 2001 and is named after Robert Hoag Rawlings, owner of the local newspaper, The Pueblo Chieftain. The library has four floors with big windows and open spaces, a lovely courtyard, and lots of comfortable seating.
We talked with several library staff during our visit. Aleiandra (substitute library staff in the children's section) told us about the library's summer lunch program for kids 1-18, sleepovers in the library (teddybears invited), and the summer reading program. She also provided us with a newspaper insert which listed many more events including a magic workshop, laser tag lock-in, rocket workshop (make your own non-combustible rocket!), and many more fun activities for the family, children, tweens, and teens.
On the second floor, we had the pleasure of speaking with Lori and Nate. They had just finished conducting an adult program entitled: Beverage Academy (How to Mix Non-Alcoholic Drinks). The program is one of a series and fits with the Summer Reading theme, Libraries Rock! Nate and Lori proudly told us about the two awards the library received in 2018 and the great job the library does in publicizing its programs and resources through the local newspaper, the library newsletter, social media, and the library website. Some of my favorite programs: the adult literacy program; English language tutoring and conversation club; the current display of steampunk art, Dr. Orphics Steampunk Curiosities; a soap-making workshop; and a series of gardening workshops.
And the funnest thing we saw in the library was Hoagie, the automaton/newspaper boy on the fourth floor. Kimberly, the Museum Services Coordinator, introduced us to the very life-like Hoagie, plus told us a bit about the history of the library, Robert Rawlings, and some of the other museums and exhibits in Pueblo. She displayed a lot of knowledge and pride of Pueblo, its culture and history.
And the true testimony to the awesomeness of the libraries in Pueblo-- an unsolicited rave review from library patron, Matt. We met Matt in the courtyard and began a conversation about cycling. Matt has ridden the Northern Tier, an Adventure Cycling Association. Today he was at the library studying for nursing exams and he told us the library was an amazing resource for the city and county. The library does a great job and is heavily used and valued by the community. After our visit, John and I agreed. Pueblo County-City Library does an outstanding job in providing engaging and fun programming, a beautiful space, and enthusiastic staff.
Thanks to all of the staff that spoke with us today! We really appreciated your time with us and learning more about the library and Pueblo, Colorado. It really makes our cross-country bike tour so much more meaningful.