News & Events - Press Releases

Back to Press Release

9. Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries

Press Contact: Steve Hansen, 303-405-3287

Web Site:

Donna Kelly, Community Member; Pam Sanlian Smith, Director; and Mrs. Obama.
Pictured: Donna Kelly, Community Member; Pam Sanlian Smith, Director; and Mrs. Obama. Click image to access high-resolution version.

In 2009, the Rangeview Library District underwent a major overhaul. The traditional structure of the library no longer worked for its busy, growing Adams County, Colorado, community. After years of staff watching patrons struggle to use the library, the Dewey Decimal System was eliminated – a decision supported by research from the nearby Denver Public Library.

The library took a risk and re-engineered library services. Now organized by words (like cooking, home, and travel) instead of numbers, the library is witnessing amazing results from the new "WordThink" system, which is user-friendly and well-loved by the community.

Since the "Anythink" state of mind took over at the library, program attendance has more than doubled and circulation of materials has tripled. The Rangeview Library District’s work is a testament to letting go of conventions, listening to community members, and allowing ideas to flourish, with an ongoing commitment to allowing imagination, optimism, and creativity guide its work.

U.S. Representative Jared Polis (CO-02) "I am proud to have nominated the Rangeview Library District for the National Medal for Library Service because of the extraordinary success it has achieved with its innovative "Anythink" approach to community service. The library district has revolutionized its operations in nearly every way, making it easier to use, empowering its staff, and establishing dynamic activities for users of all ages, and the results have been phenomenal. I commend IMLS for recognizing this outstanding community resource."

Congressman Polis nominated the library for this award.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (CO) "Libraries can be thriving centers of information and learning in any community, and Adams County’s Anythink libraries are prime examples thanks to the Rangeview Library District’s innovation. The National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services is a well-deserved honor and speaks to the hard work of district staff to empower library patrons and enrich the community."

U.S. Senator Mark Udall (CO) "Congratulations to the Rangeview Library District in Thornton for this prestigious honor. Four years ago, RLD realized the need to take bold steps to keep up with the rapidly changing way patrons interact with the library, and it began to re-engineer even the most basic services. The result is a new state of mind at RLD – and it’s winning rave reviews from Coloradans of all ages. RLD is a model for how government at all levels can better meet the needs of our citizens, and I’m proud to join in the announcement of this award."

Community Member Donna Kelly
Passionate library patron

Donna Kelly, her husband John, and their two children are passionate library patrons who have been using all of the Anythink libraries in the Rangeview Library District. They are particularly grateful for a library reading program that recently paired their 9-year-old son Joshua with a dog!

Joshua found reading to be extremely difficult until he had a breakthrough experience during the "Tales to Tail" program at the Anythink Huron Street branch. The program encourages youngsters to read aloud to dogs from the American Humane Association. At first, Joshua was too shy to enter the program area. Gradually, the program became a fun and friendly way for him to become comfortable reading. Since reading to the dogs, Joshua has become a fearless reader in love with reading.

"We absolutely can’t live without the Anythink libraries, one of the most important things in our family’s life," says Donna.