Though there’s a social media component to this story in the form of websites and blogs, this time we’re kicking it old school with traditional media–the printed word in the form of books, lots and lots of books, amassed by a collector in Denver, Co., and hopefully bound for South Park, Co. (yes, that South Park, as seen on TV), to be housed in a facility inspired by a library in Wales, visited by natural historian and book collector, Jeff Lee (yes relation–Jeff is my younger brother). Many years ago he and his wife Ann Martin, who could pass for Irish but is actually of Norwegian/Swedish ancestry, had stayed at the St. Deiniol’s Residential Library in northern Wales, a kind of “Bed, Breakfast & Books” for bibliophiles, “a health farm for the mind” in the words of its website.
This ye olde media center concept stayed top of mind for the two when they returned to work at Denver’s legendary Tattered Cover Bookstore, especially as they contemplated just what to do with the over 20,000 books on the natural history of the Rocky Mountains region Jeff had amassed. They envisioned a library and site-specific environmental education center, where people could come to study, explore and even stay for a while. They call their rustic rendering of St.Deiniol’s the Rocky Mountain Land Library (RMLL).
While nudging their dream along inch by inch, they launched the Rocky Mountain Land Series in partnership with the Tattered Cover, an author series focused on the land and communities of the American West featuring such authors as Barry Lopez, Bill McKibben, Lester Brown, Stewart Udall, and John & Teresa Kerry. With the common goal of connecting kids to nature, the RMLL partnered with Denver Water and the Thorne Ecological Institute to established a 3,000 volume Kids & Educators Library.
RMLL is now working with Colorado’s Park County and the City of Aurora to locate its books, programs and residential land-study center to South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, near the headwaters of the South Platte River. Graduate architecture students from the University of Colorado at Denver are contributing design concepts for turning the ranch buildings into the land library.
The RMLL got a major media push when a story on the project appeared in the “Jacket Copy” section of the “Los Angeles Times.” You can find out more about RMLL at its website . Be sure to check out its St. Patrick’s Day blogpost on Irish natural history books at http://bit.ly/coaxS4.