Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nature, a Dream and 32,000 Books

Jeff Lee photo
Jeff Lee and Ann Martin have a dream.

For more than 20 years, Jeff Lee, 60 and Ann Martin, 53, have worked at a Denver bookshop, The Tattered Cover, squirreling away their paychecks in the pursuit of a single dream: a rural, live-in library where visitors will be able to connect with two increasingly endangered elements – the printed word and untamed nature. (Julie Turkewitz, The New York Times, 4/17/15)

The couple was inspired by a visit to the Gladstone Library in Wales, where the 250,000 volume collection was originally founded to house William Gladstone’s collection of Victorian history and theology.
At the Gladstone, visitors sleep among the books, eat communally, and interact with other booklovers and academics.

Lee and Martin returned to Colorado and searched for a location for their dream. They wanted a residential library in the mountains of Colorado with rustic lodging and access to mountain trails. They began adding to their own collection in earnest, concentrating on books about Western history, peoples, writers and nature. Spending $250,000 over the years, they accumulated 32,000 volumes.

In 2013, they found Buffalo Peaks, an abandoned ranch nestled in a ghost town high in the Rocky Mountains, and leased it from the City of Aurora. The site has six buildings in need of repair. A grant from the South Park National Heritage, together with approximately $120,000 in contributions from donors will allow them to begin work this summer. However, they estimate that $5 million is needed to make their dream a reality.

They envision a library, a visitor’s center, artists’ studios, dormitories and a dining hall.

As Hannah Nelson-Teutsch asked on bustle.com (5/15):

Is there anything better than making your way out to a grassy meadow, settling beside a burbling brook, and soaking up the sunshine with a great book? Like chocolate and peanut butter or pie and ice cream, literature and the great outdoors are simply better together, which makes the Rocky Mountain Land Library just about the greatest idea since the invention of a la mode.

Here’s to people with dreams and the courage to make them reality!

To learn more, visit landlibrary.wordpress.com or www.landlibrary.org.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful concept especially with artists' studios and dorms. Hope it works out for them.