In literature, wolves have often been depicted as evil and deceptive creatures who are determined to eat feeble beings.

Wolves also have been thought of as dangerous to humans and livestock.

However, wolves are a vital part of many ecosystems. As such, the National Geographic exhibit “Living With Wolves” looks to educate people on the importance of wolves in nature while erasing the misconceptions of the species.

The exhibit is on display in the InfoZone theater of the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library, 100 E. Abriendo Ave., from now until Aug. 31 and is sponsored by the local chapter of the Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Wolf Project and the Pueblo City-County Library District.

“It’s an educational exhibit that gives an introduction to the importance of wolves, the ecology of wolves and their social units,” said Maria Tucker, manager of special collections and museum services at the Rawlings Library. “The exhibit explores the science of wolves and depicts the family interactions and provides insights to wolf behavior.”

The exhibit features photographs taken by documentarians Jim and Jamie Dutcher. While creating the film “Living With Wolves,” the husband and wife team took stills to show how wolves live in packs.

These photos, as well as other materials regarding the science of wolves will be on display at the library to coincide with summer reading programs.

The library also will host other wolf-themed events. During the exhibit’s opening day on June 8, a trainer and ambassador wolf from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide held a presentation.

“The exhibit is a really beautiful photo representation,” Tucker said. “There are also some hands-on interactive pieces to it so people can explore aspects with their family. We’ll have different activities for children as well.

“It will be a great place for children and families to explore.”

During the first weekend of the exhibit, Carbondale artist Valerie Rose created a large wolf-themed mural.

The mural is in two panels long and made to be moved from location to location.

Its theme is inspired by both the library and the species.

“The design will have images of these characters we’ve seen like the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood and there will be an excerpt from the book ‘Of Wolves and Men’ as well,” Rose said. “I was inspired to use this specific design because we’re at a library and because you can look at it and then walk over to the science section and read about wolves or walk to the fiction section and read a different book that portrays them in a different way.”

Rose loves wolves and has since she was in high school. While she was in an AP environmental science class as a senior in high school she began to think about wolves in a different light.

Because of this class, she became a geography and environmental studies major in college where she’d write several papers about the wolf’s reintroduction to Yellowstone.

“I always found it fascinating,” she said. “I believe wolves are hugely beneficial to the ecosystem and they are not how some people portray them to be.”

Now a full-time artist, Rose focuses nearly half of her mural work on wolves and spreading positive messages about the species.

She encourages people to read more about the animal and to educate themselves on their importance. Her hope is that through further education, wolves’ reputations can be changed. Rose wants people to understand how vital the species is.

“There’s still so much that humans don’t know about the wolves, even with all this research,” Rose said. “This exhibit will help them answer questions they might have like: ‘Are wolves dangerous? How do they act within a pack? What’s their relationships with dogs?’”

Rose said that there’s a place for wolves in fiction, however not at the cost of denigrating the entire species.

“It’s good to have a beautiful imagination and create a really good story, but it’s just that; a story,” she said. “We need to understand there’s a moral lesson to a story but it should not define the character itself, which is the wolf.”

Visitors the library this summer can read more about the animal, and realize how vital it is to many ecosystems around the world.

Tucker said that the library serves as a great host to the exhibit.

“The library has so many resources for you to follow up with,” she said. “There are summer reading programs for adults and children all summer long.

“It’s a wonderful place to learn more about these types of issues.”

Twitter: @luke_lyons14