New library director books county tour


Residents will have several opportunities to meet new Carbon County Library System (CCLS) Director Jacob Michelsen this October.

According to Carbon County Library System Foundation (CCLSF) board member Mira Miller, Michelsen will be making appearances at the libraries in Baggs, Encampment and Rawlins in order to introduce himself to patrons.

The Encampment library meet and greet will be held 4 p.m. Oct. 4, with Baggs next at 6 p.m. Oct. 11 and finally concluding in Rawlins at 5 p.m. Oct. 18. According to a poster, the meetings are sponsored by the CCLSF and will take place in the libraries of each community.

“We do one pretty much every time we have a new director,” Miller said of the festivities. “Usually it’s a traditional meet and greet with cake and punch where everyone stands around and eats cake and talks,” she said with a laugh.

This time it’s a little different. Showing a cinematic flair, Michelsen has cut a short film about himself and his vision for Carbon County libraries, calling his efforts a sort of “state-of-the-system” address. The film will be screened at each of the introductory events, and will also be posted on the Carbon County library website so that those who can’t attend the events can get a feel for the new director.

Michelsen said the film will be three or four minutes long, saying “YouTube viewership drops off pretty significantly after about three minutes.”

In the future, Michelsen said he would like to see the CCLS make films on a broad variety of topics, with a goal of releasing one educational short per month on its website.

Michelsen said holding the events at far-flung libraries was also a way to underscore his commitment to servicing rural library patrons. “In the past, they’ve only done it in Rawlins,” Michelsen said.

The CCLSF-sponsored gatherings may also be part of a broader fence-mending campaign between the CCLS and the CCLSF, a 501(c)(3) charity designed to support the CCLS. The libraries are still reeling from a tumultuous summer in which budget cuts and a power struggle on the CCLS board strained relations between the library system and the foundation that serves it. In the wake of multiple employee resignations over the summer, the library in Rawlins continues to operate at reduced hours.

“We’re really happy to be introducing Jake,” Miller said of the events, which will feature popcorn and soda as part of the movie theme. She said in addition to Michelsen, foundation members would be in attendance at the events, and possibly library employees.

It will be a busy month for the foundation, which will also be holding a “Pumpkin Run/Walk” fundraiser 9 a.m. Oct. 8 at the Rochelle Ranch Golf Course. Entry is $30 and includes a free t-shirt, Miller said.

As the state continues to offload more of its fiduciary responsibilities to such charities, those funds may be more important than ever this year.


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