Library Director’s Message

Rebecca Benally
Southwest La Plata Library District

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Questions or comments for the Board, please contact:

Southwest La Plata Library District
PO Box 62
Marvel, CO 81329

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So Much to be Thankful For

Rebecca Benally
Southwest La Plata Library District

November 2023

Can you believe that Durango School District 9R has hosted public libraries for
almost half-a-century? In 1981, in conjunction with the expansion of Fort Lewis Mesa
Elementary School, the Fort Lewis Mesa Public Library was created as a branch of the
Durango Public Library system. Similarly, in 1999, in conjunction with the expansion of
Sunnyside Elementary School, the Sunnyside Public Library was created. Both libraries
had public librarians, provided by Durango Public Library and paid for by the La Plata
County government. Both libraries also had Masters-level teacher-librarians, provided
by and paid for by Durango School District 9R.

Unfortunately, less than twenty years later, budget constraints and shifting
priorities eroded this exemplary educational pillar. At the same time, county officials
had difficult budget decisions to make. As a result, two of the existing, functioning
libraries in our county were about to close permanently.

SWLPLD is indebted to Dan Snowberger and the 9R administration who
generously utilized grant money to keep the Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside libraries
operating, while concerned citizens, many of whom now lead the library district as board
members, worked to create the Southwest La Plata Library District.

In addition to those board members, community members who recognized the
value of our community libraries helped gather signatures, financially support the
district’s campaign efforts and in many other ways laid the foundation of our library
district. Among those remarkable library supporters were Helen Ruth Aspaas, Barbara
Harris, Amanda McKown, with her dedicated daughters Julia and Eva, Dr. Kim Yeargin,
Nycole Eoff, and Dr. Alana Ostrander.

In November 2018, voters graciously approved the formation and funding of the
new library district, and in January 2019 service to the Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside
communities and schools continued under the guidance of the new organization.
Unfortunately, financial difficulties continued to plague the district, as mil levy funding
would not be distributed until 2020. We are grateful to the La Plata County
commissioners, the Ballantine Family Fund, and La Plata Electric Association for
providing stopgap funding to keep the library district running through 2019.

Everyone mentioned above, and many others, poured tangible resources and
sacrificed time and effort into this labor of love. Specifically, I would like to express my
appreciation for Roy Horvath and his efforts throughout this process. I value his
devotion, his commitment and his consistency.  He has the ability to work with everyone,
dream big and make possibilities realities.  His leadership as board chair will be greatly
missed at the conclusion of his second term in January.  

Finally, I am grateful to our library patrons. From our youngest “Wee Read”
toddlers, to our weekly school visitors, our homeschoolers, our teens, their parents,
grandparents, and all our community members: Thank you for allowing us the
opportunity and responsibility of serving you. We hope you will always feel welcome at
our libraries and that you find the information, resources and camaraderie you seek.
Your vibrant presence in the library proves our value to the community.


Rebecca Benally
Southwest La Plata Library District Director

 Welcome to Your Library!

Rebecca Benally
Southwest La Plata Library District

January 2023

Welcome to your library!  Whether you enjoy the Sunnyside Library or the Fort Lewis Mesa Library, please know we are thrilled to serve you and invite you to everything the Southwest La Plata Library District offers. 

The libraries of the Southwest La Plata Library District exist to strengthen our communities by providing access to information and ideas while encouraging imagination and personal growth.  We hope to have something for everyone—engaging programming, wonderful books, and warm, welcoming meeting places.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, just ask a member of our friendly, talented staff.  Through our affiliation with the Colorado Library Consortium, we can provide you access to over 1.7 million items and a continuously growing collection!

You, our library users, are at the center of everything we do.  Please take a moment to complete our Community Survey so that we can provide you with the services you want most.   As your library director, I am grateful for your support.  I’m grateful for The Friends of the SWLPLD and all they do for our libraries.  I’m also grateful for our amazing staff and our dedicated board of trustees who work tirelessly to ensure the needs of our communities are met to the greatest extent possible.  

 I look forward to seeing you at the library.


Rebecca Benally
Southwest La Plata Library District Director