Sustainable Funding Breakfast - Final Report

Sustainable Funding Meeting at Central

On Thursday, January 12 we hosted a breakfast with various City Officials and community leaders to discuss sustainable funding options for Denver Public Library. Speakers included: Kevin O'Connor, Library Commission President, Brendan Hanlon, City Budget Director, Eloise May, Executive Director, Arapahoe Library District, Jamie LaRue, Director, Douglas County Libraries, and finally, Mike King, DPL Friends Foundation.

I've posted a recap of this meeting online: Options for the Library's Future (printable PDF). Additionally, the information that we discussed at the meeting is posted at denverlibrary.org/library-district.

We are continuing to discuss these options with the City Administration. In the next few months, we expect a decision by the Mayor/City Council as to whether or not there will be a November ballot issue for dedicated Library funding.

Comments

This needs to happen soon or not at all. I feel my support for the library slipping as my branch libraries have changed more into book pickup kiosks and my contacts with librarians have disappeared. I am a library lover and huge supporter, but even I have started to question what I receive from the library now that the branches are evolving from important, central, community-building institutions into places to drop off and collect books and movies ordered from elsewhere. If it's all about getting books and movies quickly and without human interaction, e-books and netflix are probably more convenient and have a better selection. I hope the library hasn't already lost the fight for funding by diminishing its own importance in the life of our community. (When the head librarian is arguing that the library is "relevant" in the pages of the Post, it's an indication of the damage the library has suffered already.) I would love to see the library restored and vital. I just hope that the library's own passivity and strange, incomprehensible handling of its branches and vision of what a library is hasn't already doomed it. It has been months since I have spent more than five minutes at one time in our branches. There's just no reason to. My neighbors are, like me, buzzing through. There no reason to connect with a librarian. The local collection is weighted toward books I can find in the thrift store in a year. One branch has no place to sit and work except a mini-table in the kids section. Moreover, there's part of me that thinks that this growing group of special tax districts are just a way for Council to avoid dealing with the difficult issue of raising taxes. The best solution would be for Council to do its job and give the library what it needs.
I like the library. Unlike e-books or netflicks one can hold a copy in one's hands and read it in places where there is no electricity (such as camping etc.). Besides that there are people who have no way to download books and movies! I think the library is extremly important!G
I don't think the LoverOfLibraries was diminishing the importance of what libraries can provide. I read the comment as supporting more funding for our libraries but also concerned that the management of the library may have waited too long to ask for more funding. Instead of battling for more funding, the library has instituted a bunch of changes that diminish library service and the position of the library in our community. I agree with LOL but am not as pessimistic about the impact of the poor management on support for the library. I think the library still has tremendous support among Denver residents and even if the library is currently a mess, people still remember what it was and believe in what it could be.
I find myself in agreement with your statement, as a staff member of a Denver Public Library branch. We are constantly busy because we are extremely short-staffed and we are supposed to encourage our patrons to use the automated check out. I prefer the personal interaction and would like to build relationships with my patrons, but this is discouraged in favor of efficiency and minimal staffing due to budget cuts. Reference services - the interaction you have been missing - has become rare for the same reasons.
Is it true that children's books and media are exempt from fines?

We no longer charge overdue fines on juvenile materials, but items will be declared lost on the 40th day overdue. An appropriate replacement fee and a $5.00 processing fee will be assessed on the 40th day. This applies to juvenile materials checked out on a child's card and does not apply to juvenile materials checked out adult or teen cards. The policy was put in place to eliminate barriers to children's reading and learning.

Is it true that library staff works in library buildings on days when the libraries are closed to the public?

Yes, in some instances there are staff working in the branches when they are closed to the public. Staff are in the building working on administrative duties. Busy branches with high usage need to process returns and holds and restock shelves on closed day in order to be prepared for open hours and not generate backlogs. However, many of the library staff work at several branches, so when one branch is closed, they are working at branch that is open that day.

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