Over 90 years ago, the Bayfield Study Club was founded by a group of Bayfield women who wanted to have a wider range of reading material available. Six of those women formed the first board of trustees of the Bayfield Public Library after it was approved by the Town Board in 1934.
In the decades since our small-town library was planted, it has been nourished by a host of volunteers, librarians, board members and community members who worked with passion, enthusiasm and tenacity to create the establishment we treasure today.
As Pine River Public Library’s assistant director since 2016, and now as director, I am mindful of our history and hope I can continue to build on its wonderful legacy. A winding road has led me to this role. I grew up in England, where most of my family still lives. I trained in social services and worked with people with developmental disabilities until taking a year off to solo travel back in 1991. That one adventure eventually led to me emigrating to Durango in 1995 and then settling in Bayfield in 1997. When I first came to Colorado, I had no idea it would become my permanent home, but Bayfield and the Pine River Valley captured my heart.
I have always loved libraries; books have been my refuge, my education, my joy. My childhood library in Wickford, Essex, was my happy place, and I dreamed of being a librarian when I grew up (mainly because I thought I could read books all day, which is sadly not true).
I was excited to discover the Bayfield Library in its old home down on Mill Street. When our eldest son was a newborn, I would walk to the library with him, visit with the librarian (sometimes my only adult interaction of the day) and load up with books. Our children grew up along with our library as it moved and expanded, and we took advantage of many wonderful programs and resources offered. The library connected me to my new hometown and has been an integral part of my life ever since. I took what I thought was a temporary position here back in 2013 and, again, realized I had come home.
Now we are looking ahead to the future together and hope to build on this history as we work to improve our library for the years ahead. We remember those who have gone before and those who are yet to come as we listen to the diverse voices of our district and develop a new strategic plan this year. I hope you will all take this opportunity to share your vision and ideas with us so we can continue to better our services and help meet our community’s unique needs.
Brenda Marshall is director of Pine River Library.