Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library celebrates five stars all week

Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library celebrates five stars all week

[click “Play” to listen to Susan’s conversation with Barb Brattin]

4443549983_b7e8185973 Telluride is not just any town, and the town’s Wilkinson Public Library is not just any library. Proof positive is the fact our Library just won a five-star rating for the second year in a row, placing it in the top one percent of public libraries in the entire country. And to think,the present-day 20,000-square-foot Library located at the corner of Pine & Pacific nearly wasn’t built. After a recount, the referendum to green-light the project passed by a margin of only two votes. The new building opened August 2000.

Five-star restaurants. Five-star hotels. We have seen them in the guide books, maybe been lucky enough to enjoy the luxury of a visit to such a place. But a five-star library. What’s that all about? 

4444316268_7788cea5df The award honoring the Wilkinson Public Library is based on a new public national rating system instituted by the Library Journal, the premier professional national publication for librarians, recognized as the industry standard. Its national rating of public libraries, the Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service, identified only 85 “5-star” libraries in the entire United States. Overall, 7,115 public libraries were rated, and the top libraries in each group received three, four, or five Michelin Guide-like stars, to rank their overall achievement.

Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library achieved its top-of-the-pyramid rating through the continuous hard work of the entire staff under the leadership of head librarian Barb Brattin, who, as day follows night, is not just any librarian. For starters, Barb is not central casting for the part. She does not, for example, look like she just chomped on a lemon. She does, however, wear glasses and sensible shoes.

4443537219_b610d2770a Barb was first inspired to become a librarian when her first grade teacher walled off a part of the classroom to create her own room of books. As an undergraduate history major, she spent the majority of her free time in the bowels of the university library, the place old newspapers went to die. While blowing off the dust in the stacks, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in library science. After years working in both Ohio and Illinois libraries, Barb joined the Wilkinson Public Library in 2005 as director.

To learn about what makes Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library tick, what makes the institution so special, click the “play” button and listen to Barb’s podcast.

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