This week we send our thanks and goodbyes to Raquel Schultz, the librarian of the Paradox Valley Charter School (PVCS). For over five years Raquel has taught library skills, provided materials, and organized special programs for schoolchildren and the Paradox community.

Though Raquel was officially an employee of PVCS, we considered her a member of our staff. The Montrose Library District contracts with the Paradox Valley School to deliver library services to the general public. The library opens to the community on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons.

If you’re unfamiliar with Paradox you’re not alone. Many of our staff, though acquainted with Raquel, had never been to the library there. Last year our administration organized field trips to the West End for our Montrose staff so they could get to know our Naturita and Paradox branches. It was eye-opening to discover firsthand what these rural communities are like, and the libraries’ place in them.

Paradox is a two hour drive from Montrose. As an unincorporated town it doesn’t even have its own data in the census records. It does have a post office, a church, a fire department, and the school. The Paradox Valley Charter School covers pre-K to 12th grade. Most of the kids are bused in from the Norwood and Naturita areas. There were 49 students enrolled in the 2018-2019 school year. In 2013 the school launched a remodeling project, which expanded the library into a new area at the front of the school. It’s a pleasant and comfortable space with lots of natural light. There are four big tables with chairs for group study, and three computers with internet access.

Paradox Valley School’s mission is to inspire children to have goals and dreams for their future, and to provide a level of educational excellence that teaches the knowledge, skills, character, and creativity necessary to manifest their greatest potential in life. For Raquel, carrying out this mission has meant hosting weekly visits for each class to teach library skills. Each summer she has encouraged literacy through a summer reading program, and fun activities for kids. She also helped organize an annual Chili Cook-Off and silent auction as a fundraiser for the library.

In such a small community you really get to know your patrons. Raquel knows everyone who uses the library and so has been able to customize programs for them. Several years ago she started the Healthy Living Club for a group of women interested in diet and nutrition. She’s also organized a book club which tackles ambitious literary works, and a monthly crafting class.

Raquel has been hardworking and dedicated, and a delightful person to work with. We wish her the best in her new job at the Moab school district.

The Paradox Valley School will be open this summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. It’s worth a stop if you’re out exploring in the area. Before you go, check out one of the histories of the area: The Hell That Was Paradox, by Howard Greager, or Below the Rimrocks: a Story of the Early Days in Paradox Valley, Colorado, by Kathryn McGaughey. They’re both here in the library.

Tania Hajjar is the Assistant Director of the Montrose Library.

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