Year: 2018

Little Letters Post Office delivers big fun at library

For immediate release: December 10, 2018

Douglas County Libraries in Castle Pines, 360 Village Square Lane, recently delivered a fun surprise for its youngest patrons — the Little Letters Post Office. Located in the children’s area of the library, the interactive playscape invites kids to use imaginative play in the learning process.

Little Letters Post Office is a museum-quality installation that features playful facets of a real-life post office. Kids can act out the different aspects of mail processing and delivery from both the postal worker and consumer end using their imaginations and provided play materials, equipment and devices.

Children can create mail and packages at the supplies table and then bring them to the service counter where they “pay” for their shipments. They can also dress up in provided postal employee uniforms to accept packages and mail, weigh the items, ring them up on the cash register, place them on the conveyor belt, and sort them into mail slots.

The play environment also includes a standalone mail truck where kids can get behind the wheel and “drive” to deliver mail.

“Kids learn best through play, and Little Letters provides endless chances for that,” said DCL’s Castle Pines Branch Manager Kate Prestwood. “This playscape was installed on November 26 and by that afternoon, kids were already around the letter-writing table, addressing envelopes, and then ‘paying’ for them at the counter. It was amazing how they figured it out immediately.”

The Castle Pines library is the latest DCL location to install this type of self-guided play environment. The Highlands Ranch branch features The Market and Lone Tree offers the Playful Pets animal clinic and grooming spa.

“The playscapes at Douglas County Libraries are designed to give children a break from technology and get them back to imaginative play,” said Jaime Gotlieb, branch manager at DCL’s Castle Rock, Philip S. Miller, location. “In Castle Pines, kids can create what playing Post Office means to them. We offer the pieces, and they show us how they want to use them. There is no right way to play.”

According to Castle Pines’ Prestwood, Little Letters has been very well received. “Seating is provided around the playscape so parents can sit and watch their kids interact and also engage with them as the kids ask how to spell new words for their letters or in which corner to place the stamp,” she said. 

The library held a stamp design contest to commemorate the opening of its Little Letters Post Office. Six winning designs, created by children in the community, were chosen to be the featured play stamps that kids can place on their mail pieces.

Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection. For more information, visit or call 303-791-7323.

Library Renovations Set to Begin in Highlands Ranch

For immediate release: December 4, 2018

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) is renovating its Highlands Ranch, James H. LaRue, library to better serve Highlands Ranch residents and the growing community. Starting Wednesday, December 19, 2018, through March 31, 2019, the library will be closed for renovations; however, limited services will be available during the main building closure.

Building updates, which are based on community feedback, will be implemented by Fransen Pittman General Contractors of Englewood, Colo., and OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Once complete, the renovated library will better serve the community through:

  • Increased square footage for public use.
  • Additional space for families and tutoring.
  • Larger civic, event and kids’ spaces.
  • Technology borrowing through a Tech It Out kiosk.
  • New shelving and reorganized collections for better browsing.
  • Improved outdoor experiences, including a shade structure on the second-floor deck overlooking Civic Green Park.
  • And more.

“The library is a lovely place, but right now it doesn’t function as well as it could for some things, like Storytime,” said DCL’s Highlands Ranch Branch Manager Tammy Clausen. “This project will fix that by expanding the children’s area to accommodate our Storytime crowds. It will also expand the space for families and the full second floor for adults. It will increase the amount of public space, so patrons will see parts of the library they’ve never seen before. Everyone will find their spot within the library.”

The drive-up book return, which was updated in November to accommodate full-size cars, will remain open throughout the renovation project. Limited services, such as holds pickup (including Book Club Express and Interlibrary Loan), returns, and very limited browsing, will also be available during the main building closure: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Clausen said DCL purposely chose the winter months for the renovation because it impacts the least amount of people. “Summer is our busiest time and kids count on the Summer Reading Program,” she said, adding that people in Highlands Ranch will still be able to access library materials through and holds pickup, or by visiting other DCL locations.

Beginning January 2-March 29, 2019, the library’s morning Storytimes will be held Monday-Friday at the Recreation Center at Westridge (9650 Foothills Canyon Blvd., Highlands Ranch, 80129). There will be no Storytime on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings during the closure, and no Storytime at all on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. More information about Storytime at Highlands Ranch as well as other DCL locations can be found at

The updated library will retain features that are important to the community, including the Second Chapter Used Bookstore, an updated commemorative book wall, and the Veterans’ display case.

According to Clausen, “There will be no reduction in the library’s collection. In fact, we will get to reopen the branch with a bunch of new materials.”

DCL in Highlands Ranch is scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 1, 2019. For more information on the library renovation project, including architectural renderings, visit or call 303-791-7323.

Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection.

Fundraising twist in library reading program pays off for local nonprofit, schools

For immediate release: September 4, 2018

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) and the Douglas County Libraries Foundation were thrilled to present donations in August to three Douglas County schools and the Denver Dumb Friends League Buddy Center in Castle Rock. The donations were made possible by the Douglas County community’s overwhelming participation in a friendly fundraising competition among schools and a countywide reading challenge as part of the library’s Summer Reading Program: Escape to Neverland.

“We’re so excited to present these checks to our local schools and the Buddy Center,” said DCL Foundation Chair Tera Radloff. “Through DCL’s reading program, we challenged school kids and readers of all ages and they really stepped up to make a difference for these deserving organizations.”

The elementary, middle and high school with the most sign-ups for the library’s Summer Reading Program through July 31 were each awarded $250 toward their school’s 2018-2019 fundraising goals. The winning schools were Ben Franklin Academy in Highlands Ranch, Cimarron Middle School in Parker, and STEM School in Highlands Ranch.

“We’re so proud of our kids,” said Ben Franklin Academy Principal Diana Simpson. She was joined by a group of second-graders in the school library for the Foundation’s check presentation. “We’re especially proud of them for reading all summer,” added Simpson.

“We’re truly appreciative of our partnership with Douglas County Libraries and our local library here in Highlands Ranch,” said STEM School Director Leanne Weyman. “The library is fabulous, and it’s right down the street. Our students are able to walk there after school and utilize many of their resources,” she added.

Reading program participants of all ages were also challenged to meet a community goal of 7 million minutes of reading, which, if met, would benefit the Denver Dumb Friends League Buddy Center in Castle Rock through a $500 DCL Foundation donation. The community not only met that goal, but they exceeded it by 178,515 minutes.

Denver Dumb Friends League Buddy Center Director Matt Levien received the Foundation’s donation on behalf of the Buddy Center. “It was so cool and overwhelming to see how the community responded to what we do here at the Buddy Center,” said Levien. “We have a wonderful community that is so supportive, and we couldn’t do what we do without that support.”

“The school contest and community reading challenge were such fun ways to not only get everyone reading a little more than they might otherwise read during the summer, but to also get them invested in great causes, one that would directly benefit kids through their schools, the other that would benefit animals in need in our community,” said DCL’s Special Events Coordinator Kristen Kallio. “It was a win-win for everyone.”

The library’s annual Summer Reading Program encourages reading from a young age and keeps kids reading during school breaks, so they grow up with a strong foundation in literacy. Good Times and Garden of the Gods generously sponsored the program’s sign-up prizes this year.

Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection.

Douglas County Libraries Adds Film Streaming Service, Kanopy

For immediate release: August 6, 2018

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) is pleased to announce that the popular on-demand film streaming service Kanopy is now available for free to DCL cardholders. Library patrons can access Kanopy and sign up to start streaming films instantly by visiting Access includes four free plays per month per library card.

Offering what the New York Times calls “a garden of cinematic delights,” Kanopy showcases more than 30,000 of the world’s best films, including award-winning documentaries, rare and hard-to-find titles, film festival favorites, indie and classic films, and world cinema with collections from Kino Lorber, Music Box Films, Samuel Goldwyn, The Orchard, The Great Courses, PBS and thousands of independent filmmakers.

“Kanopy picks up where Hulu and Netflix leave off,” said DCL Collection Development Librarian Andrea Wyant. “With over 30,000 films, their collection is rich and deep. From films for toddlers to highbrow cinephiles, Kanopy has it covered. Plus, they have full closed captioning and transcripts for most of their collection, with screening rights included. Teachers, rejoice!”

With the motto of “thoughtful entertainment,” Kanopy provides DCL patrons with access to films of unique social and cultural value, films that are often difficult or impossible to access elsewhere, and programming that features diversity and current affairs.

Films can be streamed from any computer, television, mobile device or platform by downloading the Kanopy app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast or Roku.

For more information, visit or call 303-791-7323.


Kanopy was founded in 2008 by CEO Olivia Humphrey as an educational tool for colleges and universities. More than 5 million Kanopy users stream the most acclaimed movies and documentaries from award-winning filmmakers, and experience the best in independent, classic film, and world cinema.

Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection.

Douglas County Libraries Foundation Accepts Donation from Ross Stores Foundation

For immediate release: July 24, 2018

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) is pleased to announce that the Douglas County Libraries Foundation has received a $2,500 donation from the Ross Stores Foundation for Ross Stores, Inc. The gift was presented to Douglas County Libraries Foundation Chair Tera Radloff at the grand opening celebration of the new Ross Dress for Less retail location at 1361 New Beale St. in Castle Rock on Saturday, July 21.

This donation will support the work of Douglas County Libraries Foundation at the library’s Castle Rock location, including helping kids have access to books, author visits, and activities like Storytime, Camp DCL, and the library’s annual Summer Reading Program. The Foundation provides:

  • Scholarships for Camp DCL’s spring and summer camps, which provide unique learning experiences and hands-on fun for kids ages 6-12.
  • Support for DCL’s Summer Reading Program, a fun program that keeps kids reading through summer break to help build a strong foundation in literacy.
  • Funding for literacy-based programs like Cuddle Up & Read, which provides new parents with a meaningful introduction to the library and its early literacy services.

“We are so excited to receive this gift from Ross Stores Foundation,” said Foundation Chair Tera Radloff. “It will help DCL’s Castle Rock library continue to provide great services and experiences to kids and have a lasting impact on our patrons there.”

About Douglas County Libraries Foundation

Douglas County Libraries Foundation helps fund programs that reach youth, adults and families in Douglas County and across Colorado, and helps ensure the long-term success of Douglas County Libraries. The seven libraries in the district are critical to education, neighborhood development, workforce development, and economic development. For more information and to donate, visit

About Ross Stores, Inc. and Ross Stores Foundation

Since 1982, Ross Stores, Inc. has been focused on bringing customers a constant stream of high quality department and specialty store brands at extraordinary savings. In 2013, Ross Stores, Inc. established the Ross Stores Foundation to help achieve its philanthropic mission to invest in the communities in which Ross stores operate and to build competence, confidence and character in young people through its partnerships with local organizations.

Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection.