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Meet Our 2022 Writer in Residence

The Quarterly Newsletter

The High Plains Library District Friends & Foundation Newsletter

April 15th, 2022, Issue 2


Meet Our 2022 Writer in Residence: Rob Walker

UTOPIA! And Rural Futures

By Rob Walker

The first time my dad saw an iPhone was when I started thinking about the future in a Ray Bradburyesque way. My sister got a smartphone and was giddy to show our sixty-year-old father (who still used the same Compaq computer we bought in 1996) this device that would ultimately change society forever. After playing with the pocket computer for a few moments, he uttered, "Well, I'll be damned." This was a genuine blurt of wonderment from a man holding the future in his hands.

At that moment, I started thinking about the future not only as the province of the metropolitan coasts, but as a place where rural and agricultural spaces could share in the futurist vision of Walt Disney and The Jetsons.


Having been raised in what the uninformed call "flyover country," I have always been keenly aware that this space rarely gets to participate in the futuristic landscape of our shared cultural stories. We expect places like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco to be either utopian tommorowlands or Blade Runner-like hellscapes. Still, with a few exceptions, we hardly ever see spaceships and robots share screentime with farmland and small towns. What does the rest of the country look like when replicants are trying to escape death at the hands of Blade Runners? Do ag workers have farm-bots? I can't think of a single person I grew up with wanting to trade in their pickup for a Tesla Cyber Truck. So what does a future in a rural space look like?


These questions were the seed for my proposal for the HPLD Writer in Residence. UTOPIA! is a playscript about what happens when a wealthy industrialist decides to open a robot factory in Weld County, and the aftermath (good and bad) that follows.


My hope with this project is to show that rural spaces are often more diverse and cosmopolitan than they are given credit for and how a futuristic presence might affect a diverse group of people in the rural space. I also hope to show that the future doesn't arrive when Elon Musk creates an underground Willy Wonka tunnel in Las Vegas, nor does it arrive when Mark Zuckerberg reinvents Wii avatars globally. The future arrives when those in rural spaces hold it in their hands and say, "Well, I'll be damned."

For more information about Rob Walker, visit and keep an eye out for upcoming Writer in Residence programming events featuring Rob.


Quarterly Update

We Have a New Look!

Introducing High Plains Library District Friends & Foundation! The name change took effect on Monday, April 4th, 2022.

Over the past year, the Foundation and HPLD's Marketing team have been working behind the scenes to create a fresh logo, develop a new website, and create a Foundation-exclusive Facebook page.

Outside of our new online presence, we also introduced Friends. Friends of the High Plains Library District are library lovers that share their support by donating, volunteering, or a combination of both! We believe that library lovers should have the opportunity to become a Friend by sharing their time or treasure. Friends can unlock membership benefits by supporting their library through curated volunteer opportunities or by donating in support of their library’s work in our community.

For more information on membership benefits visit

2022 Signature Author Series

Free Virtual Event on April 16th at 1:00PM & 2:15PM

This Saturday, April 16th, is HPLD's Signature Author Series event with this year's guest, the award winning author of Long Way Down and All American Boys, Jason Reynolds. This is a FREE event that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home! The Teen Conversation begins at 1PM and at the keynote speech for all audiences begins at 2:15PM. For more information on our Library Watch Parties, how to access the virtual event, and how to ask Jason a question, visit

The 2022 Signature Author Series received $2,500 in Board Designated Funds thanks to support from our Friends. If you would like to contribute to next year's event, select Signature Author Series in the drop down when you donate on

Do You Love Your Library?

We want to hear from you!

If you have an outstanding memory (big or small) about your library, we would love to know about it. You can simply reply to this email with the details of your special moment. You might get a shout out in our next Newsletter or on our Facebook, @hpldfriendsandfoundation!



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