Author: melissa

Do You Have a Story to Tell?

DCL is seeking “human books” who have personal stories they’d like to share with our Douglas County community at our upcoming Human Library event. Themes of human books often reveal perseverance, persistence and self-discovery that unite humanity even through our differences.

Approved “books” will gather for DCL’s Human Library event on February 29, 2020. The event provides a safe space for 20-minute conversations between individual readers and human books who have significant life stories to share to foster learning and understanding.

Human books should live or work in Douglas County. For topic ideas and to apply, visit Application deadline is November 30, 2019.

Volunteers & Staff Deliver an Enchanted Evening

In July, patrons of all ages gathered for Wizard School, the signature event at DCL in Highlands Ranch. In addition to the many staff who teamed together to provide an unforgettable Harry Potter-like experience, more than 90 volunteers were critical to the event’s success!

Adult and teen volunteers were essential in helping staff prepare crafts and refreshments, decorate wizard shops and castle classrooms, greet and check in guests, hand out supplies, guide participants, and engage children with wonderful wizarding activities! They also assisted in the herculean task of cleaning up and returning the library to its original muggle condition so the branch could open bright and early the next morning, ready to serve our community.

Thank you, Wizard School volunteers!

DCL Volunteer Honored by Colorado Association of Libraries

Congratulations to Nichole Walters, who was named the 2019 Colorado Association of Libraries’ Outstanding Volunteer. Nichole was recognized in September at the association’s annual conference in Loveland.

Nichole began volunteering for Douglas County Libraries (DCL) in 2014 at the Highlands Ranch branch. Initially, she helped with the Summer Reading Program, Simple Science series, Movin’ and Groovin’ Storytimes, and Technology Fair, and she prepared crafts for events. Nichole’s huge heart and giving spirit soon led her to become a Lead Volunteer in our Homebound Delivery program, delivering library materials to those in our community who are unable to visit the library themselves due to illness or injury.

In early 2018, Nichole became instrumental in processing donated materials for online sales through our Amazon storefront. And later that year with the Highlands Ranch branch closure for renovations, she drove the 42-mile round trip weekly for nearly six months to continue the operation out of another DCL branch.

Nichole’s volunteer efforts have helped support our DCL Foundation, which provides Camp DCL scholarships for children, and literacy-based programs like Cuddle Up & Read, which introduces new parents to the library’s early literacy services.

Nichole is always among the first to offer help. She has superhuman stamina and is dauntless in the face of obstacles no matter how insurmountable they may seem. She does it all with a quiet dedication that touches lives but seeks no credit or recognition. We are truly honored to have Nichole as a DCL volunteer!

An Eagle Scout Among Us!

In a ceremony at Lone Tree, teen volunteer Alex D. received his Eagle Scout award.

We are excited to honor Highlands Ranch volunteer Alex Downing, who received his Eagle Scout award in December 2018, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program.

Alex is the son of staff member Cindy Williams. He oversaw the creation of cat beds for the Denver Dumb Friends League, which he and more than two dozen volunteers made over two days.

The Eagle Scout ceremony was hosted at our Lone Tree branch. DCL extends our heartfelt congratulations to Alex!

Book Start Bustle: July





Featured Book Start Staff Member

Kathy Koenig – Highlands Ranch

Kathy joined DCL in 2008.

“I have always said that Book Start is like Grubhub for the brain. The library delivers the books to children to feed their minds through our friendly, amazing volunteers.”


Did You Know?


Ever wonder why animals are such a common feature in children’s songs? Singing songs with animal noises is a good way to connect sounds with words. Give songs like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “I Love My Rooster” a try!

Music & Movement Tip: Songs With Instructions

Songs with instructions, especially “freeze” or “stop,” can teach kids control and enhance motor skills, as well as help them work on listening skills and vocabulary. Check out Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael’s Dance, Freeze, Melt song with variation options.

Why Is Repetition Beneficial to Children?

It might seem boring to you to read the same book over and over, but as a Latin proverb says, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” Repetition builds pathways in the brain, and each time those pathways are followed we go down them quicker. Studies show that every time we remember something, our connection to that thing grows stronger. A familiar pattern also helps children feel safe, and then learning can happen naturally. Read more about the benefits of repetition in this article by Kindermusik.


Have You Had a Chance to Try … Mary Had a Little Lamb?

You can use this flannel board to teach kids counting, colors, and a beloved nursery rhyme.

National President’s Awards

Doris W. and McKaela B., volunteers at Roxborough, received President’s Volunteer Service Awards.

Recently, DCL recognized 89 volunteers with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the nation’s most prestigious service award. President’s Awards honor those who, by their commitment, inspire others to engage in volunteerism.

For these awards, hours were tracked from January 1 through December 31, 2018. Volunteers earned award levels based on their service hours during that 12-month period: bronze, silver and gold.

DCL’s four gold winners for 2018 are:

  • Jackson Hamilton – Castle Rock teen volunteer
  • Riley Hamilton – Castle Rock teen volunteer
  • Sasha Morton – Highlands Ranch teen volunteer
  • Rowan Trietley – Lone Tree teen volunteer


In addition, in 2018 the DCL Board of Trustees’ combined hours qualified for a group silver award, and the DCL Foundation’s combined hours qualified for a group bronze award.

Congratulations to all of our award winners!

DCL Staff Take on Volunteer Training

Kim McClintock led a group activity to highlight the numerous steps involved in creating a volunteer program.

Ali Ayres, Department Head Volunteer Services, and Kim McClintock, Highlands Ranch Branch Volunteer Coordinator, co-presented a three-hour interactive workshop in April for Spark the Change Colorado. Spark the Change, formerly Metro Volunteers, inspires a movement of good through the power of volunteerism, service and engagement.

The organization’s Volunteer Management Training Series consists of six modules created by the Points of Light Institute. The series is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the major components of a nonprofit volunteer management program. Ali and Kim taught a course called Planning Your Volunteer Program. Upon completion of the series, attendees receive a Volunteer Management Certificate and have new strategies to develop, recruit, retain and recognize volunteers.

Recent Graduates Shine

Eight graduates received their certificates of achievement at the April ceremony at Lone Tree.

DCL’s GED, high school equivalency (HSE), and Career Online High School (COHS) programs provide opportunities for adult students to shine in their achievements. Though these educational paths may be less traditional, they are necessary to accommodate the unique situations of community members.

On April 28, in Lone Tree’s packed Event Hall, DCL recognized the accomplishments of eight high school graduates in Douglas County. The graduation ceremony celebrated the continuation of these students and acknowledged the roles of their families, tutors and friends who supported them along the way. These students worked with our community partners and volunteer tutors to prepare for this accomplishment.

Guest speakers at the ceremony included a teacher and a parent, who spoke to honor their students. Two graduates also spoke, citing the obstacles they’ve overcome to find the confidence and determination to earn their degrees.

These programs are successful because of a team effort by DCL volunteers and staff, including:

  • The support of Volunteer Services and the volunteers themselves.
  • Technical Services, catalogers, and our MHTs, who keep the study materials accessible.
  • Facilities, which keeps our libraries beautiful and safe places to learn.
  • Community Relations, which creates the beautiful invitations and takes event-day photos.
  • The DCL Foundation, which helps fund scholarships that help our students pay for testing fees.
  • Librarians and public services staff who are always welcoming and helpful to our volunteers and students.
  • DCL’s administration, which continues to support the Adult Literacy Program.

Together, we truly are building bright futures!

Volunteer Appreciation Night

On April 26, Douglas County Libraries (DCL) celebrated our volunteers at a special Dealer’s Choice event at our Parker location. Our annual volunteer appreciation celebration gives us a chance to say “thank you” to our volunteers for their dedication and commitment to our libraries.

Volunteers and their guests enjoyed socializing with other volunteers and staff. They also played foosball and Ping-Pong, learned casino games, got to spin a prize wheel, sampled a mocktail bar, learned from educational boards, and much more.

Photos, clockwise from top: Volunteers learned a few tricks to playing casino games from our dealers. The mocktail bar served up unique and flavorful blends. Our Volunteer Services team was “decked” out for the event. Foosball was a fun new addition to this year’s event! 

Book Start Bustle: April





Book Start Staff Member of the Month

Karen Weber

Book Start Staff Contact

Branch: Lone Tree

Karen joined DCL in 2015.

“Book Start is a wonderful community outreach program! Our volunteers are amazing, and the materials are timeless, fun and inclusive. Being part of such an important program within DCL is really inspiring. Thank you, Book Start readers!”

Did You Know?


Using gestures with your stories and songs is a great way to help kids talk. Children who use gestures tend to develop larger vocabularies, learn words more quickly, and construct sentences earlier. Read more here.

Music & Movement Tip: Nursery Rhymes

Lots of classic nursery rhymes have movements that go with them. Check out this list by Teach & Sing, Inc.

Why Is Dialogic Reading Beneficial to Children?

We can do a lot more than simply read the words on a book’s page. Dialogic reading creates interaction with children, like asking them questions about the story to keep them engaged. Language development in children who have been read to dialogically usually surpasses that of children who are read to in the traditional way. Read more here.

Have You Had a Chance to Try … Teddy Bear Songs? 

Check out these ideas: one, two, three.