The Denver Public Library faces a potential $2.4 million budget reduction for 2013

Last month, the Denver Public Library received a $2.4 million budget reduction target for 2013 from the City Budget Office.  As in past years, all City agencies, including DPL, are given an initial budget number and are required to submit their ideas on how to reach their target.

The Library’s 2012 budget from the City’s General Fund is $32,104,500, which funds 18 of the 23 branches at only four days (32 hours) a week; four branches at six days (48 hours) a week; and one branch at four days a week and four hours on Sunday (36 hours). The Central Library is open 52 hours a week, with weekend hours from 1- 5 p.m. The new branch opening in Stapleton this summer (which was built with voter-approved Better Denver Bond funds) will be at a service level of 32 hours – or open only four days per week.

While we were able to avoid additional budget cuts in 2012, DPL has faced reductions year-over-year for half a decade, resulting in reduced hours, materials and technology budgets.  A $2.4 million budget reduction in 2013 would mean even fewer service hours and/or the closing of some branches.  No one wants to see that happen.  We are committed to working together with the Mayor and City Council to find long-term sustainable funding solutions for the Denver Public Library and the entire City.

Comments

Ludicrous? Perhaps you live in a cave and haven't noticed how the world works. The library director cannot accede to every attempt to give it less money and praise the people screwing over the library. The library director must make the case that the library needs more money. Advocacy for the institution is part of the job for everyone who leads an institution.
If anything this underscores the increasing trend towards anti-intellectualism and an aversion towards the cultivation of critical thinking within our societal compass. Education is not valued anymore, it is not valued in regards to investing into epicenters or havens for personal and community oriented forums or convergence points that could help serve and further these purposes. The preoccupation with funding and the 'expenses' undermines how the institution of the Library enables so many who are disenfranchised from possessing the tools and capabilities to have access to basic resources. If anything, it manifests how we are becoming 'functionally illiterate,' where we will rationalize and justify anything to become subservient to a mere abstract code: Money. Don't tell me you genuinely care about building educated citizens, if anything we care about manufacturing enfeebled debilitated minds bereft of the capacity to truly challenge and question why in the first place this should be a legitimate question.
If anything this underscores the increasing trend towards anti-intellectualism and an aversion towards the cultivation of critical thinking within our societal compass. Education is not valued anymore, it is not valued in regards to investing into epicenters or havens for personal and community oriented forums or convergence points that could help serve and further these purposes. The preoccupation with funding and the 'expenses' undermines how the institution of the Library enables so many who are disenfranchised from possessing the tools and capabilities to have access to basic resources. If anything, it manifests how we are becoming 'functionally illiterate,' where we will rationalize and justify anything to become subservient to a mere abstract code: Money. Don't tell me you genuinely care about building educated citizens, if anything we care about manufacturing enfeebled debilitated minds bereft of the capacity to truly challenge and question why in the first place this should be a legitimate question.
There is overwhelming support for creating a library district in Denver. The 'haters' are, overall, few and far between. A poll done in late 2011 shows that Denver taxpayers would rather pay about $5 extra in taxes a month than see their libraries suffer future budget cuts. It amazes me how many folks are willing to give their cable company, phone company, etc. hundreds of dollars per month for entertainmnent, yet asking for $5 per month to keep the library--a public service entity that adds value to the community-- is a huge inconvenience. What does the cable company do for your community? How does Netflix add value to YOUR COMMUNITY? The library not only provides access to materials, but also equitable access to programs and services that otherwise would cost citizens extra money out of pocket if they were to seek out these programs/classes at private entities. When we pay our fair share, we can save EVERYONE money. The library is an organization that EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN, regardless of economic status, can benefit from.
Not sure who all the haters are that are responding to this blog but it is absolutely crucial that hours NOT be cut anymore to the libraries. It is getting very hard to figure out what library is open and when. Our DPL is truly a jewel in the crown and cannot go on year after year with the kind of cuts that are being projected. The only true remedy to this issue is establishing a Library District. Over half of the public libraries in Colorado are districts not sure why anyone would object. The cost per homeowner would be less than 2 hardback books! The community needs to support this issue the way the library has supported this community.
When did the mission of the Library become to provide an alternative to Blockbuster video? I am fairly certain that the library could save millions of dollars if it concentrated on what it should be concentrating on, books and educational materials. Buy DVD's, fine. But buy documentaries, non fiction, etc. Do we really need the Library to carry the latest new releases when they cost $1.00 at the Redbox? There are no other avenues for renting or borrowing books in the community. There are plenty of avenues for getting the latest movies. Seems like an awful waste of money and resources.
Well said! I agree 100%! This is a great way to save money and let our libraries have longer hours - serving all.

I agree as well. The library's role first and foremost, in my mind, is to provide access to educational material. I think it's great that it can provide access to DVD entertainment, but I still think that, overall, DVDs should be gravy after other more necessary items have been purchased.

At your recent funding breakfast, a gentleman spoke about the DPL Friends Foundation. It's time you utilize more money from your own foundation to shore up deficits. Denver citizens have adjusted their schedules accordingly and can live with reduced hours, supplies. What we cannot live with is a tax increase. Cost of living expenses have far exceeded current incomes for the lower and middle classes for years now and wage increases have not kept up with these more costly necessities either. Do not ask the public to cover this burden when you have funds within your own organization. City libraries in general do not have the luxury of their own funding organization; they cannot afford to have one. The DPL cannot afford to have its own foundation either. Do the right thing: look inside your own organization for funds --- not outside to the citizens who have supported the DPL system for years.
I agree that reduced hours are acceptable. I've been alive for a quarter of a century, and I've never seen libraries open the amount of hours identified here as necessary. When WAS this magical heyday when public libraries were open so many hours? My whole generation, at least, has fully adapted to the way it is now. It's fairly common sense that the library will have closed days, and that you can't try to go there at 10 at night like the grocery store. It's like the post office or the doctor's office, or the DMV. If people really want to be able to go to the library before dawn and in the middle of the night, they can go to almost any university library. In the meantime, the vast majority of us will continue to go to the public library at reasonable hours and accept with a minuscule sigh of regret when we see that it's closed on a particular day of the week, and go another day, and move on with our lives. The library does not need to concern itself with eliminating all minuscule sighs of regret. It would, however, be good to spread out the hours more so that in addition to there being evenings, which DPL has invested in, have some early mornings, too. Some people can come in early in the morning; some can come in in the evening. A huge, huge number can come in at some point during the rest of the day. It's really not necessary to be open all day and all night every day of the week at the cost of cutting essential functions elsewhere.

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