Over 50 years ago a group of forward-thinking women in Teton Valley proposed a library to the county commissioners. They were told to go home and do their dishes. Undeterred, they gathered signatures and volunteers to create a library in Victor. Today, Valley of the Tetons Library has grown to be a cornerstone of Teton County, a vital resource to the community, with 8,755 patrons and yearly stats of 42,000 visits, 18,000 computer sessions, over 1,000 participants in children’s programming, 24/7 public wifi (in close proximity to each library), 3,600 participants in family programming, and 77,125 items circulated.
The Library continues to strive to give back to its patrons. Not only do we bring books, audiobooks, e-books, magazines, newspapers, computers, and Kindles to our patrons, but we now offer a tool library, a seed library, internet hotspots, a makerspace, story times, summer reading programs, book clubs, and crafting and learning classes. We offer tax help during tax season and space for nonprofits to hold meetings and people to have a quiet study room. We provide a sense of gathering and inclusivity. The library makes us a richer, smarter, and more diverse community.
Now as we face the coronavirus pandemic, the library has transformed the way we can reach and benefit the lives of people in Teton Valley. Online ebook and audiobook checkouts are helping feed our book lovers’ appetites. We offer Curbside Pick-up of books and DVDs, free printouts while the pandemic continues, online book clubs, an Indie Movie Club, MakerSpace kits to-go, and online storytimes and book reviews. Book deliveries for our homebound patrons began at the beginning of June and is another example of how we are reaching out.
Our library programs rely on the generous support of the Friends of the Valley of the Tetons Library. The monies received through the Tin Cup fill in the financial gaps where the budget falls short. Tin Cup funds helped purchase the state-of-the-art Glowforge laser printer for the MakerSpace, which is now making many of the to-go kits, and supply filament for the 3D printer. The summer reading program is dependent on the Friends’ donations to fill the end-of-program store with learning toys, games, puzzles, and creative kits so our kids will continue learning as the summer slides into fall. The new, safer stairs and revamping of the outside area at the Victor location took funding by a grant, library funds, and Tin Cup funds. Past Tin Cup funds also allowed us to provide shelving for children’s spaces in Victor and Driggs; portable, comfortable seating for all programming; and portable lights for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. During COVID-19 the Friends have provided for increased digital offerings in books, audiobooks, and movies. The Friends are also currently helping to brainstorm ways to make a portable Makerspace for use in parks and other open areas since the tight space in the library is a concern and limits participants.