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We are Water Virtual Book Club June 2021

You may have already heard that 2021 is predicted to be a year of extreme drought for much of Colorado and New Mexico. Up until these latest storms, Weld County was designated as abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions as cited on the National Integrated Drought Information System. While it’s better for us now, continued drought conditions are predicted for the future and both southern and western Colorado are still hurting. These situations help make us more aware of the importance of water and how we manage our relationship with this resource.

That brings us to the technology that we know as the irrigation ditch. This system along with check dams, small diversion ditches, and reservoirs are old and effective technologies. How old? Well, at Mesa Verde, one can see the remains of prehistoric reservoirs that were constructed and used between AD 750 and AD 1180. For more about the history of ditches and canals, you might want to check Historic Context for Irrigation and Water Supply: Ditches and Canals in Colorado by Michael Holleran.


Looking more specifically in the southwestern part of our State and jumping to the late 1840s, we can see the use of the acequias (ah-SAY-kee-uhs) which is the topic of an upcoming discussion hosted by We Are Water Project Team. Acequias are a form of community ditch that was brought by Hispanic settlers from New Mexico and they are still in use today. A unique aspect of this irrigation ditch system is that it has a cultural aspect as well as the physical aspect. The book, Enduring Acequias Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water, is the story of how the Río Embudo watershed in northern New Mexico has been the home of Juan Estevan Arellano and his ancestors. From this unique perspective, Arellano explores the ways people use water in dry places and makes a case for preserving the acequia irrigation system.


For those interested in reading the book, copies should be available by the time this article is printed.

Want to watch rather than read? You can learn about how acequia irrigation systems are an important part of history, communities, and families in Southern Colorado by watching this video brought to you by the Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association. El agua es vida!

Whether or not you decide to read the book or watch the video, please join us on Facebook at to learn more about acequias and to attend a conversation about acequias through the eyes of Eugene Jacquez from Chama, Colorado. The conversation will be held on Facebook Live on June 8, 2021 at 4pm MT.

The virtual book club about water in the Southwest is kindly brought to the High Plains Library District by our friends at the We are Water project.

2021 Writer In Residence Announcement

The High Plains Library District Foundation is proud to announce the 2021 Writer in Residence. Dr. Melanie Peffer was selected by a volunteer committee to serve as the Foundation’s sixth Writer in Residence.

Dr. Melanie Peffer is a writer, speaker, researcher, and educator originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She has lived in Greeley for the last five years.

Dr. Peffer is affiliated with the University of Colorado Boulder as a researcher in the Institute of Cognitive Science and teaches introductory biology as part of the Health Professionals Residential Academic Program. Over the last ten years, she has taught biology to a variety of audiences and researched how people learn and understand science, particularly biology. She also frequently writes on topics ranging from motherhood in STEM to science communication.

Dr. Peffer is author of the best-selling book, Biology Everywhere: How the science of life matters to everyday lifeBiology Everywhere is a journey through the science of life as told through our daily experiences. She was invited to speak on Biology Everywhere at TEDxCU in April 2021 and collaborated with TED-ED to produce a lesson based on Biology Everywhere.

She plans to spend her residency working on a children’s spin-off series. In the children’s book, we follow the path of a small child exploring the biology in their immediate environment in Weld County. The children’s book would target children in late elementary grades when children begin to read to learn (rather than learn to read). This is also an age when groups underrepresented in the sciences, such as girls, begin to feel less like a scientist and lose interest in the sciences.

Since the book series presents a child exploring their immediate environment, one shared by children living in Weld County, children will identify with the main character and be able to readily apply what they are learning to their lives. This increases the appeal of the content, fostering continued interest in reading, positive views about science, and a sense of belonging in our community.

When not writing, Dr. Peffer enjoys playing her flute and piccolo and enjoying all that Colorado has to offer in the great outdoors with her husband and son.

For more information about the Writer in Residence, as well as updates on Dr. Peffer’s project and her upcoming library programs, visit

Dr. Peffer's TED-Ed Talk

CLEL Rising Star Award Given to HPLD Librarian Carolyn Valencia

(Greeley, Colorado – November) Colorado Libraries for Early
Literacy has awarded High Plains Library District (HPLD) Outreach Librarian,
Carolyn Valencia, the Rising Start award. These are awarded to individuals who
have demonstrated exceptional work in early literacy. This person may be newer
to the field and a rising start who inspires others to do outstanding early
literacy work.

Carolyn has been an Outreach librarian at HPLD since
2017.  During this time, Carolyn has made huge strides in bringing early
literacy services to our underserved communities.  She focuses on making
our community and organization more diverse and inclusive.  Carolyn trains
all our MOVE (Mobile, Outreach, Virtual, Experiences) staff on early literacy
skills and storytime procedures, preparing them for storytimes at partner
sites. Carolyn also maintains our largest early literacy partnership with our
Colorado Early Education Network (CEEN). 

“Carolyn cares about bringing diversity and inclusion to all
communities and is a role model of librarianship that is especially important
for children in our community to see.” said MOVE Manager, Brittany Raines. “Her
dedication and attitude of bringing access, evaluation, diversity and inclusion
to early literacy is a bright star in our profession. “

Proposed 2021 Budget

October 5, 2020
Dear Board of Trustees and High Plains Library District Taxpayers:

We are pleased to present the proposed budget for the High Plains Library District for 2021. This proposed budget will support the High Plains Library District in achieving its mission and vision by providing the necessary funding for the operation of the libraries, the outreach department, the public computer centers, and administration and support services.

The proposed budget consists of:

► Summary schedules listing revenues, expenditures, beginning and ending fund balances.
► The 5-year Capital Improvement Program.

The 2021 proposed budgeted revenues have decreased 15.68% from the 2020 budget. The 2021 proposed budget includes funds for a library/ innovation center in Greeley, a larger location for the Kersey Library, and for a quality level of library services.

The major source of revenue for the District is derived from a 3.177 mill levy applied to the assessed value of portions of Weld and Boulder County properties.

Any interested elector within such High Plains Library District may inspect the proposed budget and file or register any objections thereto at any time prior to the final adoption of the budget scheduled for Monday December 7, 2020 at the regular meeting of the High Plains Library District Board of Trustees.

See the entire proposed budget here.

HPLD employee Rick Medrano one of three recipients of the 2020 ABOS Rising Stars Award

Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services
1190 Meramec Station Road Ballwin, MO 63021

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Rick Medrano, Outreach Librarian at High Plains (CO) Library District, is one of the three recipients of the 2020 ABOS Rising Stars Award. The Rising Stars Award, sponsored by the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, highlights the achievements of those new to the bookmobile and outreach profession.

Rick Medrano has served as Outreach Librarian in the Mobile Outreach Virtual Experience (MOVE) Department for High Plains Library District (HPLD) for the past 3 years. In 2017, Rick worked on and presented survey results the Summer Reading team and introduced the team to the Project Outcome tool. This leadership resulted in his library district adapting the Project Outcome tool to evaluate some of the library’s programs including the Summer Reading program. In 2019, Rick presented at HPLD’s staff day and the ABOS Conference.

Rick has a passion for serving and this is evident in his commitment to serve the most vulnerable patrons: homeless and transitional patrons. He used his leadership skills to re-envision an existing stop at the homeless shelter and added a stop at an apartment building that helps homeless patrons’ transition into apartment living. Rick’s welcoming attitude and approachability has increased services to the most vulnerable, inviting them to feel a sense of belonging to the library. Rick also assists at the Inter-Community Corrections Services (ICCS) to ensure that the library is providing services to newly released patrons into the community. He assists them in library card sign up and materials checkout.

The impact Rick has had on his community is vast. He works with newcomers, rural communities, patrons experiencing homelessness, seniors, patrons re-entering society, school-aged children, and any patron in need of services.

During the COVID shut down, Rick connected with the seasonal Cold Weather Shelter and Housing navigation center to provide them with laptops and internet access. He also assisted getting laptops and internet access to the Weld County Employment Services. Rick is currently working on getting the 2020 Census completed by as many members of his community as possible. Even during COVID he is connecting with partner organizations to work together to host walk up service events to encourage the completion of the Census.

Rick has had a great impact in his internal organization. He was selected by the leadership team at his library to give a tour when Governor Polis made a visit to HPLD and he was able to showcase the library’s services and how these looked during COVID. He is activity involved in ABOS and keep his team on track to submit articles that highlights their work. Rick also services on the ABOS BOIR Committee.

The Rising Stars Award will be presented at the Awards Ceremony to be held on Wednesday, October 14, during the 2020 Virtual Conference of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. The ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. CST.

Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Given to HPLD

(Greeley – July 2020)- High Plains Library District (HPLD) has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget.

The award represents a significant achievement by the HPLD, and reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, HPLD had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as:
• a policy document
• a financial plan
• an operations guide
• a communications device

Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and in the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

When a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is granted to an entity, a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation is also presented to the individual(s) or department designated as being primarily responsible for having achieved the award. This has been presented to the High Plains Library District Finance Department.

“We are thrilled to receive this award and proud to be a responsibly steward of tax payer dollars,” said Finance Manager, Natalie Wertz.

There are over 1,600 participants in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on GFOA’s website. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an
excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources and practical research for more than 20,500 members and the communities they serve.

Governor Polis Visits High Plains Library District

(Greeley – July, 2020) Governor Polis visited the High Plains Library District on Saturday, July 11, for a tour of the District Support Services. The Governor received a firsthand look at the work HPLD is doing to decrease the digital divide and ensure all patrons have reliable access to essential digital services during the ongoing health crisis. The tour included MiFi devices and Wi-Fi units that will be deployed throughout the community. The High Plains Library District Foundation received $21,000 from the Colorado COVID Relief Fund to support these efforts.

The fund was established as part of Governor Polis’s Help Colorado Now initiative to provide aid to Colorado communities and organizations impacted by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase mobile Wi-Fi access points. These Wi-Fi units will be deployed to communities in the District service area identified to have a high need for internet access and essential technologies. These units will be mobile and can be relocated as the needs of the community change.

The High Plains Library District is dedicated to building digitally inclusive communities by providing equal access to the internet and other essential technologies for purposes such as e-government, entrepreneurship, legal needs, education opportunities, workforce development, and health and wellness. This is especially important during the ongoing health crisis, as many patrons are required to access school, work, telehealth visits, and more online.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the State Relief Fund for this important service,” said HPLD Foundation Director Abby Yeagle. “We are looking forward to expanding our efforts to tackle the digital divide in our community.”

Reopening Plans

We have re-opened!

As you can imagine, some things are different. Here is what you need to know:

Hours have changed for some locations. This page provides updated information.

Per statewide orders, library users are required to wear masks when inside library buildings. The exception to this rule is for children 10 and younger. If you forgot yours or do not have one, we can provide one for you while supplies last.

Please self-limit your time in the library to one hour or less. We may have to ask patrons who’ve been in the library longer than an hour to leave in order to allow other patrons access.

Computer time is limited to one hour per day per person, and computers can only be used by one person at a time.

While in the library, please practice social distancing of at least 6 feet.

We strongly encourage you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Libraries reserve the right to limit the number of people visiting at any one time or the amount of time users can remain in the library.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. are reserved for our
vulnerable patrons.

Services Currently offered:
• Browsing
• Computer use
• Use of wifi networks & personal laptops
• Holds pickup (curbside or in-library)
• Printing

Currently unavailable:
• In-depth computer or printing assistance
• Programs (including storytimes)
• Areas for gathering (formally or informally)
• Soft seating (seating with fabric covering)
• Browsing of newspapers/magazines
• Study room or meeting room use

Reduction of Database Spending

In anticipation of a drastically reduced budget due to COVID-19, we are taking steps to continue seamlessly serving the public, which means making some budget choices. One of our early steps is making the tough decision to reduce database spending in 2020 and 2021.

A key component of our strategic plan is financial strength, and part of that from the beginning was identifying areas for potential reduction in the event of an economic downturn. Those who remember the last recession probably remember a lot of budget tightening at home and in the community, but something you might not have noticed is that during recessions, libraries become busier. So, when times are tough, we differ from other businesses because having more “customers” doesn’t necessarily increase our revenue. Which is why you’ll find library staff are good at figuring out how to do more with less.  

This means making tough choices. Our staff analyzed data on cost and usage of all of our databases, as well as looking at which ones have significant crossover, to identify which could be reduced. These are not reductions we take lightly, but they are necessary in order to adjust our budget based on economic forecasting.

Below you’ll find a listing of databases that have been cancelled. For some we have alternatives already in place, and in those cases we’re listing the alternatives alongside the cancelled databases.

Databases that have been cancelled and are no longer available:


Demographics Now

Career Cruising

Contemporary Authors & Lit Crit

Science Online

Very Short Introductions

Databases That Will Sunset in 2020

Here are the databases for which we have paid up to later in the year, but we expect these to be gone before 2021. If you have data in these or files that you need to retrieve, such as a resume in Resume Maker, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Colorado Grants Guide

Foundation Directory Online

Foundation Grants to Individuals


Resume Maker (we will continue to provide Cypress Resume, an excellent alternative for resume creation)

Rosetta Stone (we will continue to provide Mango Languages, which is more cost-effective and has proven to be a higher-use database)