Library director turning pages
Bertollini has big plans for futures of Oak Creek, Yampa libraries
Oak Creek — Barry Bertollini jokes that he had a full head of hair before he took the job of directing South Routt libraries.
“Clearly that’s not the case now,” he said last week, laughing and pointing to his less-than-hirsute head.
Bertollini has worked hard the past six months improving the Yampa and Oak Creek public libraries by organizing staff, purchasing books and starting youth reading programs.
“It’s way more involved and way more work than I ever could have thought. There are days I certainly question my sanity,” Bertollini said.
“But you know, I’m absolutely enjoying it. There are a lot of challenges — things to do and people to meet.”
Some of the people Bertollini hopes to meet are South Routt youths, longtime library users and those who don’t use the library very often.
“I want to encourage people to come in and talk to me about the kinds of things they’d like to see in their libraries. We’re making drastic improvements and moving forward,” he said.
“I can’t promise I’ll be able to do all of it right off the bat, but I certainly will try.”
Some of the projects Bertollini, a former social studies teacher from Colorado Springs, has started include two summer reading programs geared to encouraging children and teens to read during the summer.
The programs were made possible by $16,500 worth of grants Bertollini received earlier this summer.
“We certainly weren’t a shoo-in for the (grants). It was really competitive because there are a lot of people in libraries and otherwise that are in need of money. Because we can’t get much state or federal funding, we all go to the same foundations for money,” he said.
In addition to the youth and teen reading programs, Bertollini is preparing to purchase more youth and young adult books to stock the library shelves, as well as new nonfiction and fiction books for adult readers.
“I want to meet the desires of the public. I’m trying to bring in titles and genres that maybe we haven’t had before so that we’ll have a little bit more of everything for everyone so no one feels neglected at their public library,” he said.
Bertollini also hopes to add 50 magazine titles to the library’s collection.
The Oak Creek library already offers free high-speed Internet, reference materials and some VHS rentals.
In the future, Bertollini may add DVDs to the collection, although that isn’t the biggest priority, he said.
He also wants to extend library hours to 7 p.m. to give South Routt commuters more time to get home from work and get to the library.
“For the hours we’re open, we see a lot of people come through, but most of them are elderly or stay-at-home people.
I want to keep us open until 7 p.m. so everyone will have plenty of time to come in after work and pick up a book,” he said.
Eventually he’d like to move the Oak Creek library to its own building. For the time being, however, he’d like for the community to come in and stay for a good read.
“I’d like to see the libraries become some sort of community center where people can come have a cup of coffee, check out a book, read the paper and visit with their neighbors,” he said.
Bertollini said he encourages residents interested in supporting his efforts to join the Library Friends group and start fundraising to help realize the extensive plans for the future.
“We could really use a group that would like to see the library succeed to come forward and help us,” he said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
We’re currently feeling the effects of climate change here in the Yampa Valley, with severe drought conditions, the closure of the Yampa River, wildfires in our recreation areas and burn scar mudslides that shut down…