The 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire is a tragedy, but the response by individuals and organizations has been truly inspiring. PPLD is proud to assist our community during this trying time.
In addition to being an air-conditioned refuge from the heat and smoke, PPLD has extended a helping hand in other ways.
On Sunday, June 24, Penrose Library remained open four hours later than usual to help meet the high demand for Internet usage by people needing to communicate with friends and family.
The Library has also set up mobile Laptop Labs at the Red Cross Shelters at Cheyenne Mountain High School and The Southeast YMCA for evacuees. Clifton Medford, IT Technician at PPLD, said the Library plans to have the laptops available at the shelters until they close.
“My hope is to be here until everything is cleared,” he said.
PPLD and Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District have also donated hundreds of books at each location for evacuees to keep.
PPLD librarian Krista Meier recounted this illustrative anecdote from the Cheyenne Mountain High School shelter: “One young girl I chatted with very calmly stated that the little stuffed animal she had been given might be the only one she has left if their house burns down. She ended up finding a couple of fairy books and her face completely lit up when I told her she could have them.”
In addition, the Library is dedicating public service staff to help evacuees register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website.
Use of the East Library webcam has boomed, as people throughout the world search for a view of the devastation.
“One of the first things I did today was to go to the East Library cam,” wrote Erin Gallagher on PPLD’s Facebook page. “Being in England I'm freaking out over my family and friends in Colorado Springs. Thank you for keeping the live feed up so that I can check it when I need to even across the pond, and thank you for donating everything you are. Keeping people in touch is very important right now, and five minutes of use on a laptop can put many people's fears to rest.”
PPLD has received an outpouring of supportive statements and offers for assistance from other libraries, including the Colorado State University-Pueblo Interlibrary Loan Office, Arapahoe Library District, Jefferson County Public Libraries, and Denver Public Library.
It is heartening to see a community unite, even if it is in the midst of disaster. In times of tragedy, you tend to see the best of human capability: bravery, shared passion, compassion, the opening of doors and minds to strangers. It is times like these we are forced to remember we are all connected in ways more than geographic.
Pikes Peak Library District has set up its mobile Laptop Lab at the Red Cross Shelter at Cheyenne Mountain High School for evacuees of the Waldo Canyon Fire to use. Clifton Medford, IT Technician at PPLD, said the shelter had approximately 250 people at the shelter on Sunday evening and that the Laptop Lab’s 12 computers have been in constant use since they were set up on Sunday.
Medford said that on Sunday evening, “Our laptops helped approximately 20 people register for the Red Cross Safe and Well program that we set as the homepage and easily 40 to 50 others used the laptops to look up fire information for their homes and local areas. There were also plenty of Facebook updates to let their friends and family know they were safe.”
Medford said the Library hopes to have the laptops available at the shelter until it closes. He emphasized that the laptops are free to use and that, “We’re not restricting anybody, but we are encouraging folks do sign up on the Red Cross website,” so that family and friends know they are safe.
“My hope is to be here until everything is cleared,” he said.
The Library has also donated approximately 60 books for evacuees to keep from materials that were recently weeded from the collection to evacuees, with a good balance of materials for children and adults.
“Art is a community force,” asserts Price Strobridge, who currently wears, in his words, the “poet’s tunic.” He was recently named this region’s third Pikes Peak Poet Laureate. His journey there wasn’t textbook, but it would make a great novel. Or at least chapbook.
“My father abandoned us,” he recounts of his early years. He lived for a time at the Myron Stratton Home, making him “the progeny of the gold miner” Stratton, who struck it rich in Cripple Creek in the 1890s and funneled much of his earnings into the formation of Colorado Springs and bequeathed funds to establish the home for the poor that still bears his name.
Strobridge’s high school English teacher assigned a reading of the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, and he can still “feel the music and those syllables rolling around.” He also cites Poem #15 of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island of the Mind as an early influence.
In his 20s, Strobridge watched the film Dr. Zhivago and fell in love with Russian poetry, especially the works of Andrei Voznesensky and Yevgeny Yevtushenko. He has also found inspiration in the work of Emily Dickenson, the essayist Thomas Carlyle, and the scientist Nikola Tesla.
He has driven contracted rural mail routes near Fowler, Colorado and currently lays carpet, proudly “self-employed for 43 years.” Carpet-laying demand is heavy after the recent hail storm and ensuing flooding, so business seems to be good. He fielded several carpet-related calls during a recent interview, and another call from his wife, his “main muse” and “CEO” who illustrated his lone published book Unmasking the Heart.
His tunic comes with the phantom weight of unworthiness. Because he did not attend college, he humbly felt unqualified when he was named laureate, a position normally filled by traditional scholars. “I read here and there and bounce around like a fly. I’m not a real poet.” But advice from local poet Malcom McCollum helped: “Get over it, Price. We are all self-taught.”
Strobridge partly educated himself while “crawling on floors,” laying carpet and listening to audiobooks checked out from PPLD, including works by Robert Graves, W.H. Auden, T.S. Elliott, and Robert Frost. He is fond of reciting “I got my degree / In poetry / From PPLD.”
He also learned from other local poets, who he calls his “professors,” such as previous poet laureates Jim Ciletti (a gardener/chef/poet who conveys “a sensate burst of joy. He paints that plum” with words) and Aaron Anstett (“a real energetic voice” who enlivened the local poetry scene upon his arrival just over a decade ago).
The tunic-wearer now looks to offer similar encouragement to younger writers. “The art’s coming out of their pores! They’re a voice that hasn’t been recognized.”
So what advice does our Poet Laureate offer writers of all ages? For one, write when you are inspired. “If you don’t spear, or bring to earth, or clip its wings,” a poem will be lost. Also, “hear hints of rhythms in a waterfall.”
And how does one become Pikes Peak Poet Laureate? “ ‘Way leads unto way,’ Robert Frost said. ‘Way leads unto way.’ And here I am.”
The Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Project is a partnership between Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado College, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), and Poetry West.
by Price Strobridge
By words the mind is winged.
unlaurelled molting heap,
heaped on the leveled ground,
grounded by gravity of self,
he wore no gold-edged tunic,
like a thick book
on a narrow shelf
on the cliff’s rocky ledge
to line his wings
with lifting lines
(poetry his patagium)
spreading full wings
to the wind in the words
rode up the thermal gust
the world fell away,
like fledgling down.
Beloved children's author Maurice Sendak died May 8 at the age of 83. Best known for his award winning book, Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak transformed the face of children's literature.
Here is Arjun Gheewala’s film A Lame Story, an entry in PPLD’s 2011 Teen Filmmaker Festival. His movie artfully demonstrates the power of books.
Submissions were required to have the following elements:
Object: Cape with the color red somewhere in it
Each year, the Millibo Art Theatre (formerly Manitou Art Theatre) presents The Six Women Playwriting Festival. The mission of the festival is to present theatre that explores the human experience and the human spirit through the examination and presentation of dramatic work.
PPLD TV captured the 2011 festival performances. Below, you can watch Off to Summer (Written by Tira Palmquist; Directed by LeAnne Carrouth; Performed by LeAnne Carrouth and JaNae Stansbery). To view the other plays, click here.
The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship is presented each year to a librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history. PPLD’s own Tim Blevins was chosen as the 2011 award recipient for the contributions he’s made to the District since arriving in 2001, including his work with the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society and the popular annual Regional History Symposium. The award is a huge honor for the District and a public recognition of the important work PPLD’s Special Collections Manager has done over his 10-year career with PPLD.
Blevins was also recently featured in The Gazette:
History comes alive, thanks to award-winning librarian – The Gazette, August 13, 2011
How old are your children?
We have three boys. They are 11, 9, and 6 years old.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
Homeschooling was never something I dreamed of doing. Quite the contrary, I dreamed of the day I would send them off to school and lighten my load at home. We moved here after the Kindergarten year had started for my oldest. We didn’t know what neighborhood or school district we would settle in, so we just decided to homeschool Kindergarten, since it’s not even a ‘required’ grade. For first grade, he attended the public school that we intended to be our neighborhood school in Black Forest. Due to delays, we were still commuting the next year, but his brother was in half-day Kindergarten, too. After 2 months of driving to the school 3 times a day, being in the car 3 hours a day, it just became simpler to homeschool until our home was settled, at least. Well, now we’re settled and somewhere along the way we worked out the kinks and frustration of homeschooling, feeling like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and we came out the other side committed to long-term homeschooling and loving the flexibility and adventures it allows our family to have.
What curriculum do you use?
I don’t have a single set curriculum. I’ve always used the internet as a huge teaching resource, as well as library resources, and LOTS of good books. I used to follow what the state education standards were for individual grades. With multiple grade levels, though, it has become easier and more enjoyable for our family to combine some subjects, like History, Art, and Latin. We have used “The Story of the World” audio CD’s from the library, as well as Veritas Press for elementary history. After a few years homeschooling, I did a lot of research on homeschooling methods and discovered that I was basically a Charlotte Mason-style teacher with a little bit of Classical method thrown in.
I start formal math in first or second grade using Saxon math. They’ve done well with this program, and my oldest has worked independently with this since 4th grade. Anything that one child can do on their own is a good thing and allows individual teaching time for another child. Before second grade, there are plenty of hands-on math activities that include the standards in the books without the ‘sit still and listen to me lecture’ style of a textbook.
Science is nature journals, gardening, raising animals—we have 3 dogs, 2 cats, a bunny, 14 chickens, 4 goats, and a red golden pheasant, lots of experiments (I have a degree in Biochemistry, from my previous life), and a little bit of Bob Jones University Science workbooks.
My older two children are enrolled in the Cottage School Program at The Classical Academy East one day per week. This gives them the opportunity to experience a classroom setting, participate in a music concert and an art show each year, plus group classes such as Ameritowne that just aren’t possible at home. They are learning very thorough grammar there using Shurley Grammar.
What does your homeschool day look like?
The kids get up at various times, so everyone is on a slightly different schedule. My early riser has on rare occasions had breakfast and completed Math, History, and Grammar before anyone else is even downstairs yet! Generally, we will have breakfast and rotate through individual subjects for a couple of hours, take an outdoor break (or basement if there’s weather), then complete a short assignment or chores while I fix some lunch. After lunch, we do much more relaxed studies together and can include sketching video lessons, reading, building, craft projects, dog training, handwriting, animal care, etc. In the later afternoon, we will all get together in the living room for a snack and tea time along with a good audiobook or audio history lesson. We always keep maps and globes handy for when we are reading or listening about places so we can find them. In the evenings, after dinner we will do a short bible study around the table. Bedtime includes everyone piling in our bed for read-aloud novels, poems, or stories.
Does your husband support/help you in a specific way in your homeschooling efforts?
My husband has warmed to the idea of homeschooling as he sees them thriving and doing well on the state required testing. He travels occasionally for work, so it has been great that we can come along on some of the longer trips. We’ve been coast to coast seeing museums and field trips this way. He is also active in Boy/Cub scouts, 4-H, and occasional soccer & hockey teams with the kids. He’s been supportive by building chicken coops, dog kennels, shelving for homeschooling supplies, and accommodating more chaos and less clean than might be achieved if we didn’t homeschool!
What are your children’s interests and future goals?
They love climbing on anything, building forts, swinging on a rope to reach the sky, playing with creatures big and small, and would all love to become Lego Master Builders someday.
I have 3 children: ages 14, 12, and 9.
When my firstborn child was about 15 months old, I accompanied a friend to a homeschool conference. I'd never even heard of 'homeschool'! I went more to hang out with a girl friend than anything else. While there I heard a speaker talking about how God has given our children to us as a gift. The more he talked about the relationships built with one's children through homeschooling and the equipping done for real life in homeschooling, the more I knew this was something I was being called to do.
I have been what is sometimes referred to as an 'eclectic' homeschooler, using a variety of curriculum to meet the changing needs of my children and our family. I've always felt I should teach a subject in a way that is enjoyable and many times I found unit studies to fit the bill. However, as I now am homeschooling a high school student, a middle school student, and an elementary student, I felt the need to consolidate much of the instruction I give in a 'one-room school house' type setting. I now use 'Tapestry of Grace' as my main curriculum. It is a history based curriculum that adds philosophy, art, geography, government, and writing together. Everyone is learning about the same time periods at their own levels. This enables us all to learn from each other. On top of that, I add Saxon Math, Apologia Science, Easy Grammar, Spelling Power, and foreign language (Latin).
For us, mornings work best to do our harder work. We also try to stick to a schedule so we all work on the same subject at the same time. (That keeps my stress level at a manageable level!) We start with some subjects over breakfast (Bible and History discussions). We move into math, foreign language, language arts (grammar, spelling, and writing) and science before lunch. After lunch we have read-aloud time and more discussions. The day is wrapped up with the kids doing their reading assignments and their household chores.
As my children grow their interests change and it is fun to watch it unfold. My oldest went from a 1st grader who wanted to be a vegetarian children's pastor on a horse ranch...who still ate chicken nuggets (Ha!) to a teenager considering working as a writer or missionary. My second child wants to teach art or choir and be a mommy. My youngest child at one time wanted to be a detective. The problem is, he can't keep up with his own comb! Now he wants to be a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys...and a singer! (I guess they don't have to comb their hair. Ha!)
PPLD TV recently captured this riveting performance of "Summertime" by Indian blues band Soulmate at Venue 515 in Manitou Springs.
I am using this buried page as a way to provide access to a bingo board for staff. ~Jeremiah