Four-Day School Weeks

District 60 in Pueblo has announced that in August it will transition to a four-day school week.  Many Colorado school districts have already made the transition; in fact, according to the Colorado Department of Education, ninety-eight school districts and several charter schools have adopted four-day schedules.  It should be noted that even though they're attending schools one less day a week, students are not spending less time in class; instead, they attend school for 7.5 hours instead of the traditional 6 hours.  The added class time can result in more in-depth lessons and can also reduce "latchkey" time when parents work.

Some of the popular reasons for switching to a four-day week include cost savings on transportation, utilities, and food services; a reduction in absenteeism; more time for teachers to work on grading and lesson planning; etc. If your district is considering a four-day school week, take a look at the Colorado Department of Education's The Four-Day School Week Information Manual (2017) for more in-depth explanations of the reasons for switching, as well as data on how four-day weeks have worked for schools who have been on these schedules for a few years now.  See also the CDE research report entitled A Comparison of Colorado School Districts Operating on Four-Day and Five-Day Calendars (2009).

The law allowing Colorado school districts to experiment with four-day weeks was first passed in 1980. Some early studies on the program, including Student Achievement in the Four-Day School Week and An Evaluation of the Four-Day School Week in Colorado, can be checked out in print from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Parshall Flume

Water is a precious resource in Colorado, so its use and conservation have been extensively studied by scientists throughout Colorado history.  One of the best known scientists to study Colorado water was Ralph Parshall, who developed the Parshall Flume.

The Parshall Flume is "a device that, when placed in a channel, measures the flow of the water as it uniquely relates to water depth. Today, the Parshall Flume is still widely used to help gain more accurate measurements of water flow," according to information in Colorado State University's Water Resources Archive. Parshall conducted much of his hydrology research as a member of CSU's faculty in the first half of the 20th century.  The Water Resources Archive has created an online exhibit about Parshall and the development of his flume.  Items in the exhibit include photos, drawings, and patents.

Parshall developed his flume as a modification of the Venturi Flume.  In the 1920s, '30s, and '40s Parshall authored several publications about the flumes and their development.  These publications have been digitized and are available online from our library:
Parshall Flumes are still in use today.  See the State Engineer's Office's publication Parshall Flume: Instructions for Installation and Table of Discharge for more current technical information.

Ralph Parshall taking flume measurements in 1946.  Photo courtesy Colorado State University Water Resources Archive.


New Colorado Information Resource: Colorado Encyclopedia

This post was written by Regan Harper and has been re-posted with permission from coloradovirtuallibrary.org.  

Have you ever wished that you could find all of the facts about Colorado and its interesting history and geography in one place for easy one stop access to local, pertinent, information?  Well, wish no more – because such a resource is already here.

Colorado Humanities, in collaboration with Colorado State University Libraries, the University Press of Colorado, and History Colorado, is pleased to announce that the Colorado Encyclopedia is now available at http://coloradoencyclopedia.org. As the state’s only scholar-reviewed encyclopedia, Colorado Encyclopedia is a vetted, mobile-friendly resource that currently includes 680 articles and associated media, including photos, video, and timelines.

Topics include individuals and towns, all 64 counties, 335 historic/archaeological sites, cultures, movements, and more. A one-stop resource for Colorado students and educators, CE also features 90 sets of articles written for 4th-, 8th-, and 10th-grade reading levels, links to digital primary source collections, and curriculum materials authored by Colorado teachers.

The Colorado Encyclopedia is still in its early days, but there are plans in the works to add a lot more content, more topics, and much more great locally sourced information.  Check out the Colorado Encyclopedia often and watch it grow before your eyes.


Pesticide Safety

This is National Poison Prevention Week, and if you work in the agriculture industry, one of the poisons that you will most frequently encounter is pesticides.  If you are someone who handles or administers pesticides, or are an employer of those who do so, here are some resources from the State of Colorado that provide helpful tips on how to stay safe around pesticides.  Resources listed without web links can be checked out in print from our library or through Prospector.
Our library also has a series of Pesticide Application and Safety Training Study Guides from the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of AgricultureEach guidebook covers a single subject, such as weeds and insects, and application area, such as forest, rangeland, household, ornamental/garden, aquatic, and agricultural. Search our library's online catalog for a list of titles.


Time Machine Tuesday: Springtime!!

Hooray for the first day of Spring!  Coloradans have always enjoyed springtime, with our mild and sunny weather.  A century ago, however, Coloradans celebrated more springtime holidays than we do today.  The State of Colorado Spring Holiday Book 1913 is a fun look back at some springtime holidays we still celebrate, like Mother's Day, and others that have mostly been forgotten, like Good Roads Day.

The Spring Holiday Book was published by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for use by teachers to help plan lessons around the holidays.  They include songs, stories, poems, artwork, and other items, such as "how to tell the age of a tree."  Many of the items were contributed by well-known Colorado writers.  Also contained in this volume are many wonderful historical photos of Colorado schoolchildren and their celebrations; Colorado scenery; and more.

This book is a treasure for what it tells us about life and culture in Colorado more than a century ago.  It could also make a fun resource for today's teachers to use to teach kids about life in Colorado's past.  This particular copy, which has been digitized by our library, is extra fun because it includes handwritten notes in the margins from some long-ago teacher.

Photo of the Adams County Schoolhouse, from the Spring Holiday Book


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Falls, car accidents, and sports injuries can all be causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which affects all ages.  Statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show that the 15-24 age group has the highest number of hospitalizations for TBI, but people over 85 had the highest number of TBI-related deaths. Our library has many helpful resources for learning about brain injury, including information for specific age groups:

Babies and toddlers:
Children and Youth:
The elderly:
General population:
Helpful websites:


Colorado State Library/Aspen Institute Report on Public Libraries

In May 2017 the Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries convened to give community and civil leaders from across the state the opportunity to "explore new thinking and practical solutions for using the infrastructure and expertise of public libraries to build more resilient communities in Colorado."  The event was conducted as a partnership between the Aspen Institute and the Colorado State Library.  The partners have now issued a new report based on the discussion and "how communities can more effectively use libraries to improve and enhance the lives of their residents."  This report contains helpful information not just for Colorado communities, but can be applied to communities nationwide. The report has been featured in Library Journal and elsewhere.

For more information see the Dialogue website or the State Library's press release.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's First Ladies

March is Women's History Month, an appropriate time to recognize the First Ladies of our state.  Whether they came to Colorado as pioneers or worked to leave the state a better place, these ladies led very interesting lives. In the 1960s and '70s Helen Cannon of the Colorado Historical Society profiled a number of the state's earliest first ladies in Colorado Magazine, which is now available online.  The following ladies were profiled.
Finally, for a look at some of the more recent First Ladies, see the Colorado Historical Society's book Queen of the Hill: The Private Life of the Colorado Governor's Mansion, available for checkout from our library.


Beware of Callers Using False Caller ID Information

Are you frustrated with the number of unwanted phone calls you receive?  The No Call List has been in place for nearly two decades now, but telephone scammers have come up with a new way around it -- they alter how their phone number shows up on caller IDs.  New technologies enable scammers, telemarketers, and other unwanted callers target people by using a fake phone number -- often one that starts with the same three digits as the victim's number -- to make it look like a local call or somebody from their neighborhood.  By using these fake numbers as a disguise, they make it difficult for victims to report the calls.

So what can you do?  The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has just released a new Consumer Alert on this topic.  They warn that since this practice, known as "spoofing," is often used in an attempt to steal your personal information, don't ever give account numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other sensitive information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.

If you suspect you have been a victim of such a scam, or if you just want to learn more, go to the Colorado Attorney General's Stop Fraud Colorado website, where you can find educational information as well as how to report a complaint.  Also, for more information on Colorado's No Call Law see the Colorado Legislative Council's Issue Brief.


The Dent Archaeological Site

Near Milliken, Colorado is the Dent Site, one of Colorado's oldest and most significant archaeological sites.  It was discovered in 1932 by a railroad foreman, who spotted some very large bones sticking out of the mud near the railroad tracks.  Construction of the tracks, combined with heavy spring rains, had exposed a site that had been covered since the last ice age.

After the discovery of the site in 1932, Professor Conrad Bilgery of Regis University and curator Jesse Figgins of the Denver Museum of Natural History studied the bones and determined them to be the skeletons of ice age mammoths.  They uncovered five adult female mammoth skeletons along with eight young mammoths. But the most important information yielded at the site was not about mammoths, but about people. Found nearby the mammoths were two Clovis spear points.  These spears were used by people now known as belonging to the Clovis culture, which existing approximately 12,000 years ago. The mammoth bones also showed marks consistent with having been butchered, showing that mammoth was an important part of these early peoples' diets.

Research at the site resumed in the 1970s through the early 2000s, when new techniques such as radiocarbon dating were used.  Since its discovery, the Dent Site has offered fascinating information on the diets and hunting techniques of some of North America's earliest human inhabitants, as well as on long-extinct animal species.

The artifacts uncovered at the Dent Site are now part of the collections of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (formerly the Denver Natural History Museum).  They along with the University Press of Colorado published a book, Crossroads of Culture, about the museum's anthropology collections. A copy of this book can be checked out from our library.  Here you will find more on the story of the Dent Site discovery along with photos of the site in 1932 and of the Clovis points that were discovered there.

Another resource available from our library is Frontiers in Paleoindian Archaeology:  From the Dent Site to the Rocky Mountains, also a publication of the University Press of Colorado. 

Finally, for many more resources on archaeology and paleontology in Colorado, search our library's online catalog or see this list of archaeology publications from History Colorado.


Time Machine Tuesday: Byers-Evans House Museum

Nestled between the looming structures of the Denver Art Museum is a hidden treasure, the Byers-Evans House Museum at 1310 Bannock Street.  Built in 1883 for Rocky Mountain News founder William Byers and owned for over 90 years by the Evans family, this lovely Italianate house is now a museum property owned by History Colorado.  Restored to the 1910s-1920s period, the house features original furnishings belonging to the Byers and Evans families, as well as exact-reproduction wallpapers and other elements that truly give you the feeling of stepping back in time.

The Byers-Evans House in the mid-1880s, when it was home to the Byers family.  Denver street names have changed since then, so the home's original address was 1310 South 14th St.  Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department

A tour of the museum is a real treat, but of course a tour can never tell the full story.  If you're interested in learning more about the history of the Byers-Evans House, you can check out from our library The House in the Heart of the City: The Byers and Evans Families of Denver, a special issue of Colorado Heritage magazine from the museum's opening in 1989.  Also, you can find biographies of Governor John Evans, the family patriarch, and his son William Gray Evans, the house's owner, in LeRoy Hafen's 1927 History of Colorado, all five volumes of which have been digitized by our library.  William Evans' sister Anne contributed greatly to Denver's art community, which you can read about in History Colorado's publication The Denver Artists' Guild.  Finally, short biographies of Anne Evans and of the home's original owner, William Byers, are available from the Colorado Virtual Library.

A fun fact:  Before moving to 1310 Bannock, William Byers lived in a home on the site of what is now the Colorado State Library's building at Colfax and Sherman.


Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana Industry

One of the most frequently accessed publications in our entire library collection is the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's 2017 Guide to Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana IndustryAs the industry grows (no pun intended) in our state and in many other parts of the nation, more and more people are finding employment in this industry.  If you are one of them, be sure to check out this helpful resource, which includes information to

  • Assist in the recognition of occupational health hazards that might be present within the marijuana industry.
  • Identify specific existing federal, state, and local safety and health related regulations that may apply to the marijuana industry
  • Provide initial recommendations for engineering, administrative and personal protective equipment controls that can be used to help eliminate or reduce hazards in the marijuana industry.
  • Provide information and resources to assist employers in developing written workplace safety and health programs.
  • Provide information to help develop marijuana worker safety training programs.


Statistics on Seat Belt Use

One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself when you get in the car is to fasten your seat belt.  Yet each year there are still many people who needlessly lose their lives simply because they didn't buckle up.  According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the average rate of seat belt use in Colorado is just 84%, lower than the national average of 90.1%.  During a seat belt enforcement campaign spanning two weeks in May-June 2017, including Memorial Day weekend, a whopping 5,505 drivers were cited for seat belt violations, with an additional 217 ticketed for driving with improperly restrained children.

CDOT notes that "In 2016, 180 people who weren't buckled up lost their lives in traffic crashes on Colorado roadways. If everyone had buckled up, nearly half of the victims would have lived."  That exact same number of fatalities also occurred in 2013. That year, CDOT issued an infographic Unbuckled and Uncensored, which offers further insight on these fatalities.  For instance, this publication illustrates that more men than women failed to buckle up; 49% of the unbuckled fatalities were alcohol-related; and 63% of fatal crashes involved a pickup truck or SUV.

You can find statistical information on seat belt use, car seats, and other safety measures both on CDOT's website and from our library.  CDOT publishes several annual reports about seat belt use, which you can access from our library:
Older data, for comparison purposes, can be found in
Also, for more about what the state is doing to try to promote seat belt use, see the CDOT research report Identification of Appropriate Investment Levels to Maintain and Improve Seat Belt Usage Rates in the State of Colorado.

Image courtesy CDOT 

Popular Posts