A small branch library in a remote town in southwest Colorado is in the national spotlight Wednesday as representatives of the library receive a gold medal at the White House commemorating the Naturita Community Library as one of the top libraries in the nation.
The library, a branch of the Montrose Regional Library District, was named one of 10 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Last year, the library was named Best Small Library in America by the Library Journal and in 2010 was cited for carrying out Colorado Library Project of the Year by the Colorado Association of Libraries.
Paul Paladino, Montrose Regional Library director, likens the latest award to "an athlete receiving the Heisman Trophy."
The library, which also has the distinction of being only one of two libraries in the country built of straw bales, was selected out of 123,000 libraries nationwide for making extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental and social contributions to the community it serves.
The Naturita library is located in a town of 546 residents but also serves the neighboring towns of Paradox, Nucla and Norwood.
The library offers everything from a community garden and compost bin to computer classes for adults and science field trips and literacy activities for children.