Telluride Library: Retiring Bond, Party 12/1

Telluride’s five-star Wilkinson Public Library is pleased to announce the business office is making the last payment on the current building’s construction bond in December. In November 1997, approval for the bond passed by just two votes. To celebrate the milestone, as well as the completion of the recent renovations, Telluride’s library is hosting a party. The event takes place Friday, December 1, 5 – 7 p.m. (The library will close at 4:30 p.m. that day.) Plans for the celebration include food and music. Library founder Larry Wilkinson should be in attendance. Free and open to the public. 

In 1974, Larry and Betty approached the San Miguel County Commissioners with a petition of 100 signatures to put a library on the ballot. With voter approval, the first library board of trustees was appointed; Betty was hired as Library Director. Eventually the library outgrew the Quonset hut and Larry went before Town Council for permission to use the old stone jail on Spruce Street. With council’s blessing, the town got a grant from the National Park Service and the jail got renovated. Betty and Larry hauled 20 tons of rock that summer in the back of their van, three or four rocks at a time, to get the job done. In 1976, the new library was dedicated at the site of the former town jail on South Spruce Street.

By 1984, the old jail was no longer large enough to comfortably contain the library, and so the board introduced a bond issue to add on to the old jail. The measure passed by a ratio of three to one.

But as the town continued to grow, it became clear the library required a venue designed to hold books, not prisoners.

In 1997, a town referendum to build a new, purposed-built structure passed by a narrow margin of two votes. The Wilkinson Public Library opened in August 2000.

Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library is named in honor of Larry and Betty Wilkinson, who championed a library for the town from its rough Quonset Hut inception through various expansions and into today’s beloved and well-used 20,000 square-foot building. Larry served on the Library board through the construction of the current building and still drops by when he is visiting from his home in Montrose. Larry is now 95-years-old; sadly, Betty passed away in 1988.

Telluride’s Library is open seven days a week to bring everyone books, media, computer access, meeting spaces, wi-fi, plus children’s and adult programs.

There is something for everyone at Telluride’s award-winning library and everyone is welcome.

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Laura Colbert

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