2038 S. Pontiac Way, Denver, CO 80224 - (303) 759-9921

Library Hours
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 10am - 4pm
Tuesday: 10am - 4pm
Wednesday: 10am - 4pm
Thursday: 2pm - 8pm
Friday: 10am - 4pm
Saturday: 10am - 4pm
 
2013 Vermeil Award
 
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About The Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library


2038 South Pontiac Way, Denver. Colorado 80224
The Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library is an educational and literary organization that has been established to promote and facilitate the pursuit of stamp collecting as a hobby at all levels. Our bylaws can be found here.

The Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library had its beginnings in 1993 with the donation of a storefront by Dave Capra, rent free. Some members of the original group put up the necessary money for shelves, desks, tables and chairs. On August 1, 1993 we opened for business near South Peoria and Parker Road in Aurora. While we were getting rent-free space, we still hoped to have our own space. A little over a year later we had to move into another unit next door (less than 1/2 the size of the original unit). At this point we started looking quite seriously for a building that we could buy. About six months later, that unit was also rented out, and we began intensively seeking a new location.

We finally settled on the building at 2038 So. Pontiac Way. It was in a good neighborhood, had a cement slab floor and it had about 3300 sq. ft. of space, but it was a mess - dark and damp. That is why we could afford it. After installing a new roof, we started to work on the interior - painting, cleaning, taking out several small rooms, putting up wall board, remodeling the dropped ceiling, and working on the electrical scheme. All of this was done by volunteer labor, except for the new carpeting. On August 3, 1996 we reopened for business in our own building. We won't go into how we did the financing, but we paid off the loans in seven years - eight years ahead of schedule!

Now, Let's Take a Look Inside Our Building...


The view just inside the front door of the library.
As one walks through the door of the RMPL the first thing you see are rows of shelves loaded with books. A turn to the right and you see an "L" shape counter and a registration book.
 

The front counter is on the left near the center of the picture.
After you have signed the register you turn around and see the computer station where the user can search for books of interest - just like using the old card catalog, only better. A turn to the right and you will see six filling cabinets.
 
RMPL mailboxes
To the immediate left are our patron computer for accessing the RMPL's on-line catalog (a task that can also be done from home by entering our RMPL webpage) and mailboxes, salvaged from the Alcott Post Office in Denver.
 
Thomas Crane takes a look in the clipping files.
These hold our "Clipping Files" which contain thousands of articles clipped from newspaper type philatelic publications, all filed alphabetically by subject.
 
Board Member Emiterus Jack Willard in the Western History and Railroad room. Before his death, Jack donated most of the books in this room to the RMPL.
The door to the right contains a very special collection of approximately 1,500 books - the Western History and Railroad collection. It is one of the most extensive collections of those topics in the region. The office also serves as the office of the RMPL President.
 
As we leave the Western History Room we take a quick left and enter the Stamp Program room. It is here that RMPL volunteers (managed by Howard Benson) process the large quantities of stamps that are donated to the library for disposal by it as deemed appropriate.

We leave this room and go a few steps to the left and enter another room.
 
 
RMPL Vice President Jim Kilbane is also one of the caretakers of the National Scandinavian Club Library.
This is the home of the National Scandinavian Collectors Club library. It contains a collection of over 2,000 books and materials related to Scandinavian philately. The SCC has managed to design a shelving system that is a wonder to behold in terms of its capacity, as well as in the adjacent room which houses its periodicals.

As you walk out of the SCC library and turn left you enter into the back hallway and a back room containing numerous shelves.
 
Joy shows how easy it is to move shelves in the back room.
These shelves, and the adjacent corridor, hold the 1400+ periodical titles of the RMPL, which are on our online catalog. The back room alone has 1/3 as much shelf space as the entire main room. This is because it has compact shelving on rails, the same as you may have seen in some libraries, or doctors or lawyers offices.

Here you will also find dozens of slide shows available for stamp club meetings in the Denver area and a section of philatelic related videotapes. .

At the other end of the back hallway, you come to a small room where we have a refrigerator, microwave, stove, sink, the all important coffee maker, and counters and draws with supplies for the conduct of philatelic research
 

Stamp Collection Area

We reenter the main room where you will find tables and chairs This is the area that is used for collectors and researchers to review books and periodicals, as well as to search for, and purchase stamps, from our massive stamp wall.
Master topical specialist Dasa Metzler supervises the Topical stamp program, in this case working with Roma Schultz in organizing the topical binders.
 
Along the exterior wall to the left, is our massive stock of stamps, covers and supplies that are for sale to the public. These have been donated to the RMPL, and culled by 16 volunteers to appeal to different collecting tastes and needs of the RMPL. On the right side are our post office boxes, used for delivering material to various members of the RMPL. Those mailboxes were donated to the RMPL in 1995 by then Denver Postmaster Perez. In the first stacks opposite the mailboxes is where you will find worldwide catalogs, followed by country specific catalogs. At this point begins our book holdings of over 10,000 manuscripts. These have been cataloged and are arranged in Dewey Decimal order and extend for the next four. Following these books we have a shelf section specifically for topical collectors.

Those are followed, in turn, by the beginnings of our periodicals shelving, housing more than 1,400 different periodical publications, with more than 100,000 issues. Those periodicals extend along the back wall, into the rear corridor, and into the movable shelves of the redesigned back storage room.
A wide angle wide view of the reading area. Stamps for sale are in shelves that line the wall on the left.
 
In the front of the library on the right as you enter is the Librarian's office where we have the master computer and where many of our records are kept. Ellengail Beuthel has been the RMPL's Librarian since its inception, designing and developing the RMPL's unique Dewey Decimal system for its holdings; the holdings catalog, and the subject index catalog with its 1200 headings, the most extensive subject listings for philately in the U.S.
Volunteer librarian Ellengail Beuthel is probably the most important person at the RMPL. It is likely there would not be a library without her help the last two decades.
 
Space needs were beginning to constrain activities at the RMPL, as our membership and services grew. In December 2009, the RMPL completed six months of activity with the purchase of the adjacent building and lot located at 2048 S. Pontiac Way/7070 E Asbury.
 
Purchase of the property had become important as the space at 2038 S. Pontiac became more heavily used for meetings and storage. Storage burdens had been temporarily relieved by the purchase of three large storage sheds. A study group in December 2008, spelled out a plan of action identifying the needs of a future expanded library. The study group report clearly outlined the growing needs of the library for additional space.
The two buildings of the RMPL, with the new formal garden in the forefront, designed by RMPL member and master gardener Tonny VanLoij. RMPL members Steve Nadler and Jeff Modesitt did the exterior painting of the building.
 
The availability of the property at 2048 S. Pontiac Way was presented to President Lugo in late July 2009. A number of meetings were held to study the purchase of 2048 S. Pontiac way. Four areas of concern were addressed. These included:
 
A. A 1,200 square foot meeting room:

The front of 2048 S. Pontiac Way became the RMPL's new meeting room. This was the Library's most pressing need, and was more than adequately addressed by the 2048 S. Pontiac Way property. Since its purchase, the meeting room has served a variety of purposes, relieving considerably the congestion that was frequently the case at 2038. Modern, up-to-date projection equipment has been installed for programs by the numerous clubs using the meeting room. In the room is the supply closet for the Metro Denver Youth Club. An additional room provides storage for video equipment, and a marvelous display counter (donated by Porter Memorial Hospital) provides a work counter and display cabinet for showing many of the RMPL's collection of historic philatelic documents and artifacts.
Meeting of The Collector's Club of Denver. Automatic projection screens and overhead projector have been installed since this photo.
 
 
The American Topical Association President's Reception in the meeting room during the ATA Show in June 2010.
 
 
The Denver Metro Youth Club meets in the room on the regular basis, with its supplies stored behind this specially built postmaster's door designed by Board member Don Dhonau.
 
B. Office Space:

Another pressing need of the facility at 2038 was office space for the growing assemblage of volunteer staff and services offered by the RMPL. One half of the lower level of the building was ideal for this purpose. An approximately 700 square foot space was available for offices of several RMPL programs.

At the front entrance of the offices is the office of the RMPL's SCRIBBLINGS newsletter. The RMPL also publishes the newsletters of nine national philatelic society journals.
Former editor Ron Hill and stamp program volunteer Mary Ellen Merkel in the SCRIBBLINGS office.
 
Further down the corridor are other rooms and offices. One room is the RMPL Map Room for the library's growing map collection, first begun by founder Bill Dunn (for whom the room is named) and currently maintained by Map Curator, Steve Schweighofer. Another room is for storage.
A casual user of the map collection.
 
A few feet down the corridor are three more rooms, each one abreast of each other. On the left is the entrance to the Don and Ellengail Beuthel Conference Room. This spacious conference room can host meetings of 10 to 20 people in its comfortable atmosphere. The room also houses, the locked research reference files of the United Postal Stationery Society.
 
 
 
Along the corridor across from the conference room are special rooms indeed. One (the Jim Ozment and Bill Bauer Special Collections Room) is devoted to the holdings of the Colorado Postal History Society. It is maintained by the CPHS and is available to the public by appointment. The second room houses other special collections. These include Gene McGruer's German Inflation Period Reference Collection, Jack Willard's Special Machine Cancellation Reference Collection, Mark Vainer's Judaica Reference Collections, and Jim Ozment's Mobile Post Office Reference Collection. This room is also open by appointment.

Restroom and kitchen facilities complete the office segment of this portion of the building.
The CPHS Room has been finished to house the most extensive collection of material on Colorado postal history that can be found in the nation. Roger Rydberg is responsible for the work, as being explained here by Ellengail Beuthel to Steve McGill.
 
C. Library Annex Space

The lower portion of the property also provides over 700 square feet of (former) garage space that will eventually be turned into about 4,400 linear feet of new library shelving. Remodeling of this portion of the building is expected to be completed by 2017. Its future shape can already be envisioned.

First, new shelving will run the length of the east and west walls, as well as the south wall and north wall. At least one (possibly two) banks of shelving is also anticipated down the center of the room. Progress towards such shelving has already begun, with the installation of refurbished original wood shelving along the east wall and presently used for the RMPL's large collection of auction catalogs.
The original industrial nature of the annex is gradually being replaced.
 
Carpeting will be installed as other major remodeling projects are completed, including modern, decorative heating and air conditioning systems. Cubicles have been installed for users of the annex, as well as the Great Britain and Commonwealth Collector's Club Library and the National Czechoslovak Library.

The garage door has been replaced with a solid wall that will provide a coffee klatch area for philatelists wanting to commiserate about the hobby. Finally, plans are being laid to unite the two buildings with a common walk way or new entrance to the facility to be untaken in 2017 or thereafter.
Volunteers have been refurbishing the wood and reinstalling the finished product for our Auction Catalog’s Reference Collection
 
D. Garden Area

The adjacent vacant lot offered ample space (roughly 6,000 square feet) for future expansion, or alternatively a parking lot or a garden. The vision of the President was for an area of aesthetic beauty and relaxation that could be used by members and visitors during the season for enjoying nature and for meetings and events.
Dinner was served to members during the ATA President'’s Reception in the formal area of the garden in June 2010.
 
That vision has already been realized by RMPL member and volunteer, Tonny Van Loij and his master gardening skills. The front half of the lot has been converted into a formal garden and the middle portion converted to an alpine garden. That front half features a walkway, flower beds, and a flagstone surfaced patio area for gatherings. The rear portion (still under development) will feature an alpine themed, landscape garden of lichen covered rocks and mountain grasses and shrubbery, as well as a large gazebo and cooking area for outdoor events.
The upper portion of the formal garden to be developed into an alpine theme garden area. The community garden had provided its bounty to residents and RMPL members during the summer of 2010.
 
The back half of the lot is devoted (presently) to a community vegetable garden. Expanded in 2010 by the addition of a retaining wall, the community garden measures roughly 2,400 square feet. Maintained by a local resident for the past 20 years, the products of the community garden were a smash hit with members of the RMPL who managed to harvest bushels of its produce.
The expanded community garden as seen from the retaining wall near the entrance to the lower office area and annex.

More Information

Those of us who are actively involved in the RMPL are proud of what has been accomplished. We are an all-volunteer organization. With about 70-75 volunteers who operate the RMPL, 25 of whom keep the doors open 6 days per week as our front desk volunteers. Our hours are 10 - 4 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursdays we are open from 2 - 8pm. We are closed on Sundays and all Federal holidays.


Ron Hill and volunteer George Snyder
enjoy a chat in the stacks.
Generous philatelists from around the country have donated almost everything in the two buildings of the Library, as well as to the gardens. We thank each and every one of them. The Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library has 501 (c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. We are a public charity and donations to the RMPL are considered a charitable deduction on Federal Income Tax forms. The RMPL is supported by over 500 members and by donations of funds and materials.

The Sales Division, headed by RMPL volunteer Howard Benson, is a vital part of our fundraising activities. Howard supervises about 20 volunteers who help sort donations of collections and prepare them for sale. We have a sales section in the library that is broken down into categories:
  • 5¢ books, stamps that catalog up to 50¢
  • 10¢ books, stamps that catalog up to $1
  • Priced as Marked books, stamps that catalog up to $20
  • Covers, postcards, FDCs, postal history
  • Topicals, neatly arranged by topic


Another integral part of the library has grown with the stamp program. Currently under the direction of Board member David Weisberg, the RMPL's auction division has grown from its humble start in 1995 to a smoothly operating silent auction held at the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show each May, and a large lots/bulk lot auction held in October of each year. Together, these auctions raise nearly $50,000 in revenue for the RMPL, with amounts anticipated to increase as David and other volunteers are able to cull out and categorize increasingly expensive donations to the Library.

A publications program, under the direction of President Lugo has evolved at the RMPL over the last decade. Its products, thus far, have received wide praise and recognition. The first book (produced in 2008, and written by Sergio): Camp Genter won gold medals at the three national literature competitions in which it was entered. The second hardback publication (produced in November 2010, and written by past president Ron Mitchell) popularly known as the Denver Eagles, also earned three gold medals at national literature competitions.

One of the most active groups meeting at the library every third Saturday from 9:30-noon is the Metro Denver Young Stamp Collectors Club. Four adult volunteers keep the kids interested and challenged. This work spills over to every local stamp show where a youth table is provided. The RMPL provides materials for use at all of those booths.

We offer assistance to persons who have "inherited" stamp collections helping them to find the best way to dispose of the collections.

We are a philatelic research library and try to help the individual collector.

We truly are the Philatelic Center of the Rocky Mountain region... Stop by for a visit! We think you will be surprised.