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Creating a unique library in Colorado

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It lies about two hours from Denver, in the high mountain grasslands that have recently been designated a National Heritage Area. If all the details are worked out with local officials, the Buffalo Peaks Ranch, founded in 1861, will become home to the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Land Library.

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Jeff Lee and his wife Ann Martin, longtime staff members at the famed Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, are behind the Rocky Mountain Land Library project. They were inspired by St. Deinio's Library in North Wales to create a space for scholarship, contemplation, reading and writing, all in connection with the land itself.

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Lee and Martin have collected more than 20,000 volumes focused on nature, the environment, history, literature, western land issues, archeology and the cultures that have passed through the region. If plans go forward, they will be housed in a library constructed with and around the ranch buildings and barns on the site.

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Last summer, a group of volunteers turned out for a day of scraping and painting (above). There may be more volunteer days in the future.

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Graduate architecture students from the University of Colorado at Denver are putting together a design for the library, and have visited the site to survey its existing structures, like the steel-and-concrete barn, above.

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Students noted how light falls through the existing structures.

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As important as the structures are, the landscape is essential to the project, as is the breadth and play of the sky above it. The pictures above and below were taken on the same afternoon.

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Visit its website to learn more about the Rocky Mountain Land Library project, see many more photos and follow its progress.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Rocky Mountain Land Library

 
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